AMU Environmental

What About the People?

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By Dan Hahn
Special to
The oil has stopped. Now everyone is thinking about all the important things, like what if the cap fails and more oil comes, when should boom be pulled, how long with VOOs (Vessels of Opportunity) be employed to help out, and all the operational aspects that come with this train of thought, to include political implications. So I ask, what about the people?

Boom, bays and beaches are great for newspapers and television broadcasts, but who is talking about the human impact? Well finally Someone is. I just saw a release from Florida DOH giving contact information for seeking behavioral health assistance. Day eighty what of this disaster? One suicide down (which is more than all the suicides from the Exxon Valdez over the first three years of that disaster combined). Why Florida? Where is Unified Command Mobile? Where is Area Command New Orleans? What are they waiting for?
Response to this disaster has been disorganized and top heavy from the beginning, only becoming palatable when the branches started operating, but within weeks of the branches operating, the oil has stopped….and people still suffer. 80+ days for Florida to put out a resource. In the defence of the state, they have been advertizing webpages, and local organizations have been providing data, but without funding, all the phone numbers to therapy in the world will not help the unemployed that are most in need. Loiusiana asked for funds, but now that a federal partner is in the mix, we are waiting for a comprehensive plan….one suicide already….

Daniel Hahn is the Plans Section Chief for the Santa Rosa County
Florida, Division of Emergency Management. Hahn spent 22 years in the United States Army prior to starting his career in emergency management in 2006.
Daniel earned his master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management with American Military University, graduating with honors. Hahn is working on a PhD in business administration with a specialization in homeland security policy and leadership through Northcentral University. Daniel is the chair of the Editorial sub-work group for the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and is on the editorial advisory board for Continuity Insights magazine. Daniel also teaches in the School of Allied Health and Life Sciences for the University of West Florida, and he teaches emergency management classes for American Military University.

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