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VIEWPOINT 5-30-13

Timothy Linden | 6/2/2013, 10:10 a.m.

IN THE WAKE OF THE TORNADOES THAT KILLED MORE THAN 20 PEOPLE IN OKLAHOMA LAST WEEK, IS THE D.C. METRO AREA PREPARED TO HANDLE A SIMILAR CATASTROPHE?

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Mary Helen Dove Silver Spring, Md. I don’t think the emergency preparedness crews in the area are ready. We have a difficult enough time keeping power and dealing with water drainage after severe thunderstorms. The area is not ready. In the area of Silver Spring where I live, last year’s derecho storm knocked down a lot of power lines, and that’s a reoccurring theme each time one of these storms hit. The sinkhole in the District last week caused the halt of traffic and debilitated that area.

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Lisa Johnson Silver Spring, Md. I definitely don’t believe that the emergency preparedness agencies in the area are prepared to handle a large storm or other natural disasters. Individuals and families should be proactive and prepare on their own. As we saw with the storm last year, cell phone towers shut down and people began to panic – they weren’t able to reach loved ones. People should have their own contingency plans on whom to call and where to meet.

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John Templeton Washington, D.C. I believe the city is ready to handle a large natural disaster. It’s also up to individuals to prepare on their own for such events. I know I’m ready… I have water, food and an alternative source of electricity, so when the power in my neighborhood goes out, mine comes right back on. Overall, the city does a good job with handling snow and storm clean up.

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Rudolph Spencer Hyattsville, Md. The area is not ready to handle such catastrophes. The regular power outages after severe storms send people into a panic and frenzy. There needs to be more of an emphasis placed on evacuation routes out of the D.C. metropolitan area as well. During holiday weekends, the roads into and [out of] D.C. are gridlocked with traffic. As of now, the area isn’t prepared to handle a catastrophic event.

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Selica Gordon Black Silver Spring, Md. I don’t think the area is ready for a catastrophic storm or natural disaster. I’ve lived in my Silver Spring neighborhood for nearly nine years and we lose power with something as simple as a thunderstorm, and the neighborhood is usually crippled for a couple of days. When my neighborhood is hit by a snowstorm, snow plows don’t usually arrive on the side streets until after a couple of days. I have not had a good experience nor do I feel confident that the area is ready for a natural disaster like the one that occurred in Oklahoma.