Florida Needs to Adopt the “FRED” And the “SWATT” Ideas for Calamities

by Bobby Reyes

National Guardsmen evacuate Melbourne, Florida residents in the wake of Fay in August 2008 | Photo by Capt. David Ross/Nat. Guard via Wikimedia Commons

Part XVIII of the “Florida, the State of the Future” Series

In view of the arrival this week of Hurricane Ian, the follow-up article on the idea of “Tree-Farm Parks” is being delayed to Sunday. It is now a major Category-4 hurricane and is growing stronger in the Gulf of Mexico. It should be on its way out of the Florida Panhandle and possibly even out of the City of Orlando — when this article is published after 0001-H, September 28th (today). Or it can linger on for a couple of days in the general areas of Florida and its neighboring states.

But this column suggests that in the foreseeable future, perhaps the “Save Our Rural Areas” (SORA) project should study the FRED idea that this columnist submitted to the Los Angeles City Hall on April 4, 2011. However, the City of Los Angeles declined the suggestion that it should spearhead it as a nationwide initiative.

The “FRED” is an acronym coined by this journalist. It stands for “First Responders for Emergencies and Disasters.” The readers that are interested in pushing the idea of tapping community members to become and be trained as “First Responders” may like to read why the “FRED” makes sense. Yes, especially when it is a fact that law-enforcement officers, firemen — and other government agencies providing emergency services — cannot immediately attend to all the communities at the same time after a calamity happens. For instance, it may take government agencies’ First Responders up to 72 hours in case of a catastrophic earthquake in Southern California to rescue victims and survivors, if not their own family members, first. Here is the link.

The FRED idea is also proposed to the SORA Foundation and other Floridian community organizations in addition to the SWATT teams. The SWATT is the acronym for “Social Workers, Agriculturists, Teachers and Technicians” that can save financially-distressed farmlands. And even prevent the suicide of some of the farmers that are despondent about their failure to pay back bank loans to keep their farms afloat financially in the first place.

The FRED concept says that there is really a need, and an urgency, for individual families, their respective neighborhoods, and communities at large to get themselves organized and trained to meet any eventuality, emergency or disaster. The article explains the simple ways community members become trained “First Responders.”

As happened after Katrina’s hurricane devastated New Orleans, LA, some law-enforcement officers left their assigned posts and abandoned their assigned missions. Why? Because they had to rescue, first and foremost, the members of their own individual families.

The tragic history of the Katrina Hurricane should never be allowed to happen again — anywhere in the United States, North America, and the rest of the world. The FRED and SWATT teams may be able to help in fielding First Responders. And this is a simple and doable training exercise for emergencies and disasters.

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