A Quick Look at Emergency Preparedness

Nearly a year ago, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher was on his way to Washington, D.C., for the funeral of President Ronald Reagan. Though his plane had permission to fly into the area, a failing transponder on the plane left officials thinking the plane was an “unidentified general aviation plane headed toward Washington.” In other words, “officials thought [it] might be heading for the Capitol as part of a possible terrorist attack [which] forced a brief panicked evacuation” and “the diversion of two F-15 aircraft from their normal patrols.”

When it comes to emergency response, let’s take a quick look at how much progress the Bush administration has made since officials came within milliseconds of shooting down the plane of Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher:

Was an off-track civilian plane almost shot down? Yes.
Was the color coded system working? It seems so.
(Does that mean anything? Not necessarily.)
Was the e-mail notification system working? Certainly!
Did D.C. police or city officials know what was going on? No.
Were the offices of the mayor or City Council of D.C. evacuated? No.
Was the RNC evacuated? Don’t be silly…of course!
(How about the DNC? Don’t ask Fox.)
Did the president even know what was going on? No.
(Does anyone see a problem with that? Apparently not.)

Lesson of the day: Never say never again.