Isaac to test lessons taught to Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina in ’05

Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012

On the eve of the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a tropical storm system named Isaac is expected to put to the test the lessons supposedly learned in 2005.

Did we in fact build back better as well as bigger? If we wind up to the northeast of Isaac’s eye in the storm’s most dangerous quadrant, we should find out in the coming hours.

Did we appreciate the repeated warnings of public officials that surviving a storm — and its aftermath — is first and foremost a personal responsibility? For at least 72 hours, we should be prepared to deal with our own needs and, yes, even our own emergencies.

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As is said over and over and over, during a storm even first responders must remove themselves from harm’s way so they will be available to act as quickly as possible after the winds and waves subside. Even then, depending upon the severity of the storm’s damage, it can take days to get into and out of some areas of the Coast.

For those who were on the Coast in the long hours and longer days following Katrina, this is understood all too well. For those who have never been without instant communication or rapid response from police, firefighters or medical technicians, this will come as a shock — unless warnings have been heeded and sound advise taken.

Isaac may, we hope, be no more than a great inconvenience. But each of us should be prepared for something much worse. That is the price for life in this corner of paradise.