Don’t depend on the government

With the recent earthquakes in the Reno area, as well as the major disaster in China still hanging overhead, the question remains—are we prepared for a disaster of such magnitude?

Most can remember the Northridge earthquake in California. The monetary cost was extreme, from $1.3 to $2.2 billion in 1994 in estimated damages, and the human loss was even greater. People died, buildings and bridges collapsed—without a doubt, this was a great disaster. But the emergency response was on target, first responders did their jobs, and they did them well.

California has to face a large number of quakes, and they were prepared as best they could be in a situation such as that. Can we say the same for Nevada?

Reno is an old town and somewhat fragile. Historic buildings and bridges are scattered throughout the city of Reno. For example, the Virginia Street Bridge at our very heart was built in 1905.

With such a historic setting, I’m led to wonder whether these buildings and pieces of infrastructure could handle such a disaster. Only time will tell. What we all need to see is how our government has spent tax dollars to prepare to face a tragedy along the lines of those at Northridge and in China.

The Vigilant Guard is an event where emergency response teams come together and practice their response techniques. This year, they are coming from five states and one U.S. territory to make sure they are prepared to handle any natural disaster. The Federal Emergency Management Agency of the Homeland Security Department is also prepared to send their forces to help in case of emergency. These teams can only prepare to a certain extent, but they are as prepared as they can be. This seems like good use of our tax dollars.

As far as buildings and bridges collapsing, there is only so much government can do about this. Natural disasters of such extreme magnitude are rare and extraordinary events of nature. Since they can’t be predicted, there is little use worrying about the unknown, we must simply embrace it and prepare to our best ability.

In the case of an earthquake, since it is so unpredictable, it is important that individuals have a sense of personal responsibility and prepare themselves for such a disaster.

In having this sense of personal responsibility, people should do what they can to protect themselves. Make sure you have plan for your family in case of an earthquake, stock up on water and prepared foods, things like this. Preparation of this nature could prevent an extraordinary amount of trouble in time of need.

We can’t expect increases in taxes to pay for more government funded programs to help us just in case something MAY go wrong.

No one can say for sure what will happen in a 7.5 magnitude earthquake. What we can do is look out for ourselves. Not even a government funded program can 100 percent guarantee that the old Virginia Street Bridge won’t collapse, but they can prepare to help us if it does.

In turn, we need to help our families, friends and neighbors by making sure we have done everything we can for ourselves.