Disaster is not something anyone likes to think about. That storm from hell or the earthquake that can never ever really be predicted is not an IF. It’s WHEN. What happens when you’re without power and water for a week? It’s not up to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or the Department of Defense (DOD) to help. Being prepared for disaster is an individual responsibility.
This is the premise of Liz Richardson’s new course, DISASTERS AND DISASTER PREPAREDNESS. She will give students an insider’s view of our Disaster Response System from the federal level down to the local level, including a review of state exercises and how they are integrated with local authorities and coordinated with federal authorities. The emphasis will be on local and individual preparedness plans.
If anything, Liz Richardson is probably overqualified to teach a course in disaster preparedness. Her education, training and professional experience are astonishing in depth and diversity. She has a B.S. in Management, a law degree and was a colonel in the US Marine Corps Reserve from 1984-2010. She has worked as Assistant to California’s Inspector General, Deputy City Attorney (Long Beach) and been an Administrative Hearing Officer at LAX.
In the Marine Corps Reserve, she served in disaster assistance operations at the state, national, and international levels. She assisted at the Katrina hurricane, the California fires, and Desert Storm. She supervised staff in a multinational Joint Task Force in Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, and Oman and was a Civil Affairs Officer of planning in a Rear Operations Command consisting of 500 Marines.
On top of all that, Ms. Richardson gives pro bono legal advice/service to Marines, dependents and retirees. And now she is presenting DISASTER PREPAREDNESS to help OLLI students develop individual preparedness plans.
For just $10 and 12 hours of your time, you won’t find a better (or cheaper) “peace of mind” insurance policy against disaster anywhere.
For 49 years I practiced medicine and most recently practiced denial.
For weeks I waited for the DMV renewal. I have gone through this ritual for the last 12 years.
I dread this. From the day it comes ‘til the day I comply my personality gradually deteriorates, my responses to conversation are curt and humorless; my pulse quickens, my blood sugar and my cholesterol rise, my sleep is disrupted.
The only things that remain are my wife’s understanding and my blood pressure.
I attribute this to love and modern pharmacology.
I am ordered to present this form with a DL62, a report of vision examination. I schedule my annual drive test. My vision was still stabile.
Now the anxiety reared its serpentine head. I had it made, but…. I had driven through a red light less than a mile from my home. It was a bright sunny day. I did not endanger any other driver, cyclist or pedestrian. No horns blew, no fists flew, no fingers saluted and no shouts or curses greeted me.
I am best behind the wheel on cloudy or rainy days. I schedule my drive test for days with predicted inclement weather. I may see things that aren’t there, e.g. a shadow or a tree branch that becomes an animal, or an obstacle, or a piece of debris on the road. My inclination is to swerve. The right side mirror is not always clear. I understand the optical confusion as the same process of seeing words whose shapes are interpreted but not read as they are written.
I had a similar experience 2 weeks later. How many do you have to have before you make up your mind?
Enough is too much. No more denial, no need for my loved ones or the governor to make decisions for me. I have not driven my car in the last 10 weeks….I’m done.
I need a lift home!
(Geoff Carr has been a member of the OLLI MEMOIR WRITING class for many years.)