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Disaster & Emergency Preparedness
What Makes an Event a Disaster or an Emergency
There is no single answer to this question. For everyone a disaster or an emergency is very personal, and it should be. How are my family and I affected? This is the most important question for most of us.

An event that constitutes a disaster to an individual could be any of the following:
  • Lightning striking his / her house.
  • A water main break on his/her street which causes flooding in their basement.
  • Storm winds causing a tree to fall on his/her car.
  • Or, an event that constitutes a disaster, affecting large numbers of people, could be:
  • A hurricane that causes wide spread damage to southeastern New England
  • Another “blizzard of ‘78” revisited here in New England
  • Rainstorms causing widespread flooding.

Two General Types of Disasters
The point being made here is that there are basically two general types of “disasters”. One type affects one or a relatively small number of people in a localized area.

The second affects large numbers of people over a widespread area. Are they equally serious to the victims? They absolutely are!

Can victims in both the localized and the widespread examples reasonably expect or hope for the same level of immediate emergency aid from responders? Absolutely Not!

Emergency Responses
In the event of a localized emergency, responders are rushing to aid victims immediately. In large scale incidents involving many people over a large or widespread area in need of aid, it quickly becomes impossible to get help to every person immediately, and it becomes absolutely necessary to be prepared to help ourselves and each other until Emergency Services help arrives or the situation subsides.