Firefighting, Technical Rescue


Issue 5 and Volume 159.

BY STEVE BALLOU The threat and impact of natural disasters ARE nothing new, but this past year has been a not so subtle reminder that these are significant inescapable forces requiring study, understanding, and action. The fear that welled in my chest, even from the safety of a hotel room in Oregon, as I watched Katrina become a Category 5 hurricane advancing on the Gulf Coast proved well founded. Current spending on the far from complete recovery exceeds $34 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history. And, with the loss of 1,300 lives, it is the deadliest since 1928. We were all witness to the destruction and the lack of anything even closely resembling an organized, efficient response. Now, six months later, the road to recovery and prehurricane normalcy is still without strategic road signs, just as the area was without literal signage after the storm.…

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