By Kay Wilson-Bolton
September 5, 2005
This past week has taught us the wrenching lessons learned from a community that is not prepared for disaster.
We can only speculate how many lives might have been saved if the local disaster plans had been placed into the hands of neighbors and friends for implementation.
REALTORS® are on the frontline of neighborhoods, and if disaster plans exists in our communities, we should know about them. What we now know is that lack of clean drinking water is devastating to all ages for purposes of sanitation and daily requirements.
The absence of baby food, medicines and simple first aid materials costs lives.
The loss of cell phone service and communication creates confusion and panic. The separation of parents from the children is devastating. Our own good intentions to plan for disasters are not enough. We must look out for each other.
Families need a plan so they know where to meet when disaster strikes, what signals to use, what to pack in the car and a safe destination. A plan for earthquake emergency might be different that a plan in the event of fire.
Neighbors need to know where those who need assistance live so they are not left to fend for themselves. It is possible that nearly everyone who left New Orleans by car could have taken one other person and a few of their personal belongings.
The reality of aged people drowning in rest homes is beyond thinking about. It could have been prevented. In one case, a son put off getting to his mother for nearly a week until it was too late.
The real estate community can help spread the world about a disaster plan, but we need to know what it is. If there is a plan in our towns known to public and safety officials, it needs to be handed down to those of us who would diligently implement it in our neighborhoods and work towards public awareness.
We know that we can’t wait for the government or the Red Cross. A few extra moments of preparation and thoughtfulness could have made the tragedy of this week less of a burden for the rest of our lives.
Kay Wilson-Bolton is the owner of CENTURY 21 Ojai Valley and CENTURY 21 Buena Vista. She is celebrating her 30th year in real estate and can be reached at 805.340.5025.