Unfortunately, there are some people in this country who are so base, that all they seem to be capable of doing is creating false red herrings about the ground based response to a national crisis. This post is about the nature of the real response to Sandy and some of its key elements, as opposed to the fictional characterization now being projected by some elements in the Media. This post is also about what has already been done (as a matter of fact), some of the things that are now "ongoing," as well as what my personal response to the needs of those impacted by Sandy will be and why. The country gets hit with the largest weather system in the nation's recorded history, extending at one point all the way from the Caribbean to the coastal edge of New York, having displaced countless thousands of people physically and disrupting utilities to millions more, and all some people can do is tap their political feet looking for the first opportunity to make some off the wall comment about the "response to Sandy," as being "Obama's fault." The Federal Government's Response to Sandy: a) The POTUS took initial action to open up early lines of communication with every single Governor that was projected by the United States Weather Service, to be a potential target of Sandy. b) The POTUS took initial action to inform each Governor whose state was projected to be a target of Sandy, that he would be available to do whatever a President can do in such situations, to ensure that FEMA was as responsive as possible and that the United States Navy and Coast Guard was already on alert. c) The POTUS took special consideration, based on the United States Weather Service projections that the area of New York and New Jersey, stood the highest mathematical probability for being inside the conical track of Sandy's Eye, to inform those Governors that the President would make every effort to expedite the Federal response to those areas. Three (3) United States Navy vessels were pre-positioned and then moved into the area of the New York harbor, after the passing of Sandy, and are currently being used for staging airborne rescue missions and other airborne relief efforts. Done. d) Governor Chris Christie, himself, publicly expressed his satisfaction with the responsiveness and proactive demeanor of the POTUS both prior to and subsequent to Sandy, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg. e) The POTUS arranged for FEMA's Assessment Team to be per-posisitioned on the ground before Sandy struck in the areas (New York and New Jersey) where the United States Weather Service projected the highest mathematical probability for storm damage. Done. f) The first three (3) steps in FEMA's Response Protocol is to: - 1. Do no additional harm. Do not put responders in a strategic or tactical position where they are unable to function in their role, as this reduces the response to victims and only serves to increase their suffering. Insure initial storm passage and the low probability for the creation of a second system coupling to the first. Launch initial ground based and aerial assessment of damage (this sub-process is always ongoing). Done. - 2. In the event of local water tables that have risen, insure that flood waters have receded sufficient to allow safe passage of ground based response teams and personnel. Coordinate resources to clear streets, roads, bridges and passageways to enable the reach and extension of emergency responders, relief personnel and their equipment. Ongoing & Persistent. - 3. Coordinate with local emergency services and initiate first wave of search & rescue operations, including but not limited to: door-to-door searches, open field & street level searches, airborne and underwater searches. Sustain first wave until reasonably confident that no surviving victims remain. Ongoing & Persistent. It is the responsibility of the Local Government to re-establish Utilities such as Electricity and Gas. Electrical and Gas services cannot be randomly regenerated, merely because people are complaining to the members of the Media, who then get in front of a camera as fast as they can to tell the entire world that the "FEMA" response is "slow." Above ground power lines must be evaluated for repair or replacement and load tested before being put back into service. The structures (Homes and Commercial Buildings) that have been physically displaced by the storm, cannot be reconnected to services at all, until they have been rebuilt. All caution must be taken to insure that no health and safety hazards will be the result of resuming either Gas or Electrical services. Doing so, when inappropriate could result in additional deaths. All of this work takes time, as the storm has altered the topology in many affected areas making access to those places that must be evaluated difficult. Portable power generators can only be deployed after such time has passed that is sufficient to allow for the clearing of obstructions that block the roads, highways, streets, bridges and pathways in which the generators will be placed into service. If you cannot drive down a street, then it is highly unlikely that you will be able to deliver a portable power generator using that same street and/or access way. The total surface area that has been adversely impacted and physically altered by this storm is massive in both size and scope. The total number of states negatively impacted has been unprecedented in U.S. history. Therefore, it is expected that the aggregate response to such a crisis will be felt as being significantly slower than other weather related crises in the past. I lived through the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989, that devastated parts of the Northern California Bay Area. A portion of the upper deck of the Alameda side of the Bay Bridge collapsed, a large section of a double-deck freeway (Cypress) collapsed crushing people below inside their vehicles, sections of San Francisco were burning to the ground and gas related fires were breaking out in portions of the East Bay. Through it all - people found away to start working together for the common good. The response in many areas was slow, simply because accessing those areas was difficult. Just because access is difficult, does not mean that a response is not underway: [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV59oWjefAQ&feature=related]Quake of 89- A Video Chronicle Part 1 - YouTube[/ame] People are suffering after Sandy. People are tired. People are hungry. People are human beings and therefore, they have very human limitations on the amount of suffering they can endure before becoming agitated at the fact that they are suffering. As a direct result they will complain about not receiving enough attention. They will complain about the response time of the relief effort. The vast majority of them do not understand how the relief operations are organized and executed, nor do they care about such things. All they know is that their neighborhood, their town, their city, their block, or their house are in total disarray and they want things to return back to normal. That sentiment is normal. Many of them are in a severe state of shock and very uncertain about the future. Many of them cannot see beyond the desolation that surrounds them. All of that is very human and very much expected. What is NOT expected is for those of us standing on the outside including those members of the Media, to sit back and Monday Morning Quarterback the relief and response effort that literally spans across several different states and impacts literally millions of people. FEMA was on the ground before the storm struck and they, the Red Cross and many different organizations are working tirelessly to respond to the needs of the people who have have their lives literally turned upside down by Sandy. The President has initiated the most responsive relief effort in the history of FEMA, without question. Nobody who understands what's happening on the ground disputes that fact, other than those attempting to score political points, mere days before an election. Now is not the time to politicize an American tragedy. The damage is widespread and the relief effort is underway as robustly as it possibly can be. I have a Brother and a Sister, who live in New York and who have been adversely affected by this storm. They are engaged in helping their neighbors on a daily basis, as their resources allow them to, despite the fact that they have been negatively impacted as well. That's called character. That's called being a Citizen and a Patriot. My Personal Response to Sandy: I will be loading my personal aircraft with supplies and staples up to the maximum useful load limits of my aircraft and flying into the New York area, first to assist and comfort my family members and then to do what I can for others on the ground. I will also be donating all revenues generated by my firm in the month of November and December, to the Red Cross, and I will deliver that check preemptively when I arrive in New York, on Tuesday morning. We can sit here and attempt to score political points before the Presidential Election, or we can each find a way to help our fellow Citizens who are now in need. Do what you can to help, instead of being political fire starter.