Friday, October 21, 2005

Congressman Ford To Take Part In University Of Memphis Panel On Disaster Preparedness

The Memphis Business Journal reports that Congressman Harold Ford Jr. will take part on a panel to discuss disaster preparedness on October 28th at the University of Memphis.

As you may remember, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina Congressman Ford took the lead in making sure the local, state, and federal governments all had joint response plans in the event of a catastrophic earthquake.

Ford took his efforts to Congress where he urged Senators Bill Frist and Lamar Alexander along with other members of Congress to approve $20 million in disaster response planning funding for areas such as the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which Memphis sits on.

On September 30th Congressman Ford succeed in helping obtain the $20 million for disaster response planning.

In a statement Ford said, "I am pleased that this critical project will continue to be funded.

Memphis lies within the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which has a substantial likelihood of producing a significant earthquake within our children's lifetimes.

If such an earthquake occurs, it could cause the kind of catastrophic effects that we have seen in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita: significant loss of life, a shattered infrastructure and billions in economic damages. Even though Tennessee has some of the best first responders in the nation, such as Tennessee Task Force One, such an earthquake would likely overwhelm the resources of state and local governments.

"One of the best ways to prevent the mistakes that the federal government made in response to the recent storms is to engage in comprehensive planning and training exercises. The $20 million program that is now in the final version of the homeland security spending bill will fund training in regions - like the New Madrid Seismic Zone - that have the highest risk of catastrophe.

"We have seen the tragic effects of failing to plan ahead. If Hurricanes Katrina and Rita teach us nothing else, it should be that our government needs to plan and train for the worst. Simply hoping that disasters will not occur is not an option."

Once again Congressman Ford is talking about real issues and working towards real solutions.

In both his words and actions, he is showing Tennesseans he is worthy of being our next U.S. Senator.