Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Who Do You Trust?

What are you supposed to do when you receive conflicting orders (or recommendations) from government officials during a disaster?

A clear example is the conflict between New Jersey Governor Chris Cristy and the Mayor of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

During the approach of Hurricane Sandy, the governor issued a mandatory evacuation order. But that order was reportedly countermanded by the mayor of Atlantic City when he told citizens they could stay put and take shelter in the city's emergency shelters.

The result of this mixed message was that a lot of people decided to stay in the city, and then a search and rescue operation needed to be launched to go in and save the victims of the storm who were trapped by the high winds and flooding.

So, what are you to do when you are give conflicting messages from officials during a disaster?

My opinion: You are ultimately responsible for your own welfare. Don't try to shift responsibility off onto some government agency or official. Consider their "direction" for what it is — their best guess, based on information they're receiving from their sources.

When it comes to evacuation, it's up to you to decide whether to stay or go, based on the best information you have available. You must learn to assess the situation accurately, determine the risks, prioritize your list of possible actions, and then live with the consequences.

Don't just become a mindless robot that is ordered around by government officials or agencies. In the case of New Jersey during Hurricane Sandy, that would leave you wondering whom to believe and trust.

In the end, you're the one you have to trust.

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