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For Emergency Management: The Key To Disaster Survival? Friends And Neighbors

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It seems as though there have been a lot of disasters recently – the earthquake in Japan, tornadoes in places like Missouri and Alabama, and those wildfires, to name just a few. With each of those disasters, we hear a lot about the emergency personnel, equipment and ambulances that are rushed to the scene.

But new research shows there’s something more important than rescue crews and government aid.

NPR science correspondent Shankar Vedantam reports that what really matters are neighbors.



  1. Natali Lacasa says:

    The story explains clearly the importance of community aid. I think back during Hurricane Ike how our neighbors rallied together to help one another out. While government focuses on infrastructre, community focuses on getting each other back on their feet. What the government overlooks during rebuilding; a community sees; such as key relationships that need to be maintained as well as built.

  2. Nelly says:

    It is really an eye opener, I never realized the importance of knowing my neighbors. In a disaster you can not always count on first responders and sometime aid is slow. Neighbors helping each other out really makes sense. I agree with Natali, in that what government overlooks and community sees. Neighbors and communities are always the first to provide assistance during a disaster.

  3. Jon Castro says:

    When natural disasters hit the local first responders are often unprepared for the failure of their contingency plans. Local communities are often blindsided when they find the police and fire are unable to handle the loss of communication and authority to act without instruction from higher. The national guard stationed nearby to aid in Katrina were themselves wiped out by the disaster. It’s sad to say but I don’t think I know my neighbors by name and even my co-workers share similar lack of involvement with their community. We normally share a wave and go on inside. I hope if disaster strikes I’m able to help dig rather than be dug up.

  4. Amal alshammari says:

    Knowing about a disaster in advance would help in minimizing casualties. People would know about hurricanes through local media but planning and decision making usually made with family members, friends and neighbors. Emergency departments and units are not enough to cover all areas and neighborhoods and would not know much about how many people in a house and if they are in the house or had already left.
    I totally agree that social relation is very important in surviving disasters.

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