SOUTH BEND - Stephanie Fritts, director of the Pacific County Emergency Management Agency, said the hurricane was a good lesson for local residents in the event of a tsunami here.
"We need to be more prepared, it could happen here," she said. "If anything was brought home to me by the hurricane disaster it was that the message that everyone needs to keep three days of essential provisions on hand in case of a disaster is wrong. There's no doubt in my mind that three days isn't enough. We need a seven-day supply. I can no longer promote a three-day supply in good faith and say it's adequate, because I don't think it will be."
She said she was disappointed in the response to victims of the disaster. "I feel like the current administration has decimated the Federal Emergency Management Agency and tried to remake it into something better. The intent was honorable, but they haven't succeeded. That's part of the reason they're having the problems they're having now. In the event of a tsunami here, people will need to learn a lesson in patience and to know it will take a minimum of three, maybe even five to seven days before they get help."
At the local level, Fritts said, cities are being asked to become National Incident Management System compliant. "It's supposed to help everyone," she said. "I haven't seen it do a damn thing for Katrina. I'm very disgusted right now. Things need to change. It doesn't work."