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Katrina General: Be Ready, then Help

During his recent visit to UWG retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré brought wisdom, inspiration and straight talk about the challenges facing the country and the world. He also came armed with practical tips on how to be ready for emergencies.

During his recent visit to UWG retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré brought wisdom, inspiration and straight talk about the challenges facing the country and the world. He also came armed with practical tips on how to be ready emergencies. The former three-star general is best known for his command of relief efforts following hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Honoré said people should join Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs, in which citizens learn basic disaster response. The skills they develop – such as assessment and light search and rescue – can be crucial when police and fire personnel are not able to get to areas immediately following a disaster. People should also learn CPR through the American Red Cross.

Everyone should have:

  • An evacuation plan.
  • An evacuation pack with medicines, cash and a crank weather radio.
  • At least a three-day supply of food.
  • Smartphones set up so they send out early warnings of an impending emergency.

“Then, when you get your family ready, go and help your neighbors,” Honoré said. “It’s the ultimate human experience – saving somebody else’s life.”

Also, if you know a practical skill – volunteer and share the knowledge.

In the floods that followed Hurricane Katrina, among the youngest of heroes was a little boy who learned to swim from American Red Cross volunteers at a Boy Scout camp, Honoré said. The little boy swam from his rooftop to a passing boat. Then he helped rescue his little sister, mother and father from their flooded home.

“He was the only one in the family who knew how to swim, saved the whole family,” Honoré said.
Honoré, who wrote “Survival: How a Culture of Preparedness Can Save America and You from Disasters” after his 2008 retirement, said that governments have gotten better at disaster precautions since Hurricane Katrina.

But everyone needs to be ready, he said.

“Preparedness is the key.”

If you missed the lecture, you can watch it in full. It begins around the 29 minute mark.

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