‘Always ready like a good scout.’ This is the motto to have and to hold. It comes to my mind when I am thinking of a conversation with a neighbour some good while back. There we were sitting outside at midnight – she puffing the fresh air with smoke, myself watching that the cat did not disappear into busy nightlife of the hip-n-happening city centre. She is a neighbour with whom I exchange the daily newspapers; she gives me the local paper and I give her the real paper!
Anyhow, she told me that I wouldn’t be getting the paper that weekend, because she was going to take part in a major ‘Always Ready’ – training where the state, provincial, and the volunteer sectors were going to be involved in. Apparently, a big exercise. She told me, that these training sessions stem from the disaster of the 9/11 in New York, which caused the Finnish authorities to take a hard look at their resources and their coping mechanisms in the event of a major catastrophe happening. Another push to being even better prepared came with the tsunami in 2004 in Asia, that affected the Nordic nations in a major way with so many of the citizens holidaying in the resorts, where the disaster hit the hardest.
From my childhood, and even more so from my teens I do remember that there were the bunkers underneath the housing areas and even in this house that I am living at present there are the massive underground areas that are in other use now, but when and if needed, will be turned into living quarters where everything is already in place.
Also in Sweden and in Israel while living in these countries the bunkers existed and some sort of a plan to adapt in time of need. Well, then I moved to Ireland and asked himself about the bunkers and so on – the look of disbelief in his face was priceless. ‘What bunkers? What plans?’ Hah, no such things in here.
Then the 9/11 happened and one of the Irish government ministers was interviewed – shall remain nameless – in a radio show which I did listen at the time. He was asked about the fact that how prepared was Ireland for any such like catastrophe; his answer was adamantly to declare:
‘that Ireland was as well-prepared as any country.’
More than that he could or he would not say; no matter how the reporter tried to eek out the exact measures and the nature of this declared preparedness. He would not say. Nope. Just repeated the above line like a robot.
Then a research was done to this statement of ‘Ireland being as ready as any other nation’ and they found out that tis was not so, as the only thing that there was, was a few boxes of iodine tablets – that’s all.
The story became farcical as the truth emerged:
- the tablets were out of date
- there were not enough of them for the population of nearly 4 million
- there would possibly be one tablet or so per person at the most
- there were no Plan B, no alternative methods or means to help the population at all. Zippo.
This I told my neighbour and hearing it she laughed so much that tears in her eyes for laughing so much. She was thinking of the well-oiled preparedness of Finland and her own involvement in it and could not comprehend that this was all a nation could have. I do hope that the ‘always ready’ – approach has finally arrived in there, too. Ireland is a very dear country to me which I love and like enourmously. This is not meant to hurt but to illustrate a point. I was told by the neighbour that with each rehearsal there comes up every time so much that needs to and has to be refined but that without these exercises they would not know that so much is still missing. Theory is so vastly different to the actual though stimulated event. And even more so when and if the really real event happens, for sure.
Tis for now. Riihele xx.
BTW – The photograph is one where I put two photos which I had taken in short intervals into one. This view was to the west in my last abode in Ireland.