Seattle, Wash. -- With death tolls topping 10,000, tens of thousands injured and thousands still unaccounted for, Turkey's 7.4 earthquake continues to draw relief workers from across the world. But even as they continue to gear up to help speed response and recovery efforts in Turkey's devastated cities and towns, many emergency responders are re-assessing the adequacy of earthquake mitigation and preparedness in their own regions. According to Seattle-King County American Red Cross Chapter CEO Jon Fine, when disaster strikes, the American Red Cross is there. But the Red Cross is also there before disaster strikes, working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), local offices of emergency management, neighborhood groups and business partners to increase community preparedness levels through training, education, and pre-positioning food, water and medical supplies.
"The time for deliberate risk assessments, emergency preparedness partnering, and serious life saving mitigation action is before the earth begins to move, before the storm clouds arrive, and before flood waters rise," said Fine. "Helping to prepare may mean not having to help recover."
FEMA Regional Director David L. de Courcy couldn't agree more. "Immediate emergency response is essential in saving lives in the wake of catastrophic disasters," said de Courcy. "But even as we rush search teams and emergency supplies to disaster sites, we need to be asking ourselves: How can we reduce devastation from future disasters? How can we make our communities more disaster-resistant?"