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September 11th, 2009
09:33 AM ET

Preparing for the Next Disaster

When our country came under attack eight years ago, the immediate concern for most of us was the safety of our friends and family.

Where were our spouses, our parents, our kids, were they all okay?
Today, we want to know if you’re prepared in case of another disaster.
Whether it’s a terrorist attack, a hurricane, a fire or a chemical spill, you need an emergency plan.

To help you get started, you can go to There you’ll find some suggestions and ways to stay in contact with your family, where to go and what to have on hand.

If you already have an emergency plan leave us a comment and share your ideas.

Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Mike Armstrong TX.

    The next disaster may be closer then we think but this enemy is unseen comming quickly to take our lives a plauge of hate and remorse a punishment for our sins a sickness that shows no mercy .

    September 11, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  2. cora

    Hi, the special on Larry Silverstein is absurd, tell the people about how much money he PROFITED from this disaster and why is tower #7 never mentioned. LARRY [PULL IT] SILVERSTEIN! THANKS, CORA WEGMAN

    September 11, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  3. William Sandage

    The next disaster is already here in case you didn't know it. wow and you are our news people and you don't even realize yet that Presicent Obama is the next disaster. have you looked at what he has already done to the american people

    September 11, 2009 at 10:37 am |
  4. A Woodie

    You all think too much of yourselves. You are appalled that a training excercise would take place on Sepember 11th–without informing you? If we stopped all activites on the days that are a memory of a tragic event, we would never move. Whatever was going on on the Potomac today is a matter of the Coast Guard security. I don't think they owe you any apology or to the nation. Thank goodness we didn't allow the terrorists to terminate our duties and regular day-to-day lives.

    September 11, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  5. Louis

    Its pathetic the continuous crying and sorrows repeating over and over the incidents from 8 years ago.
    That is history and the preparation for the next attack is due
    There is nothing wrong with the training exercise at the Potomac river.
    Ms Napolitanos is the wrong person for the job of HSA

    September 11, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  6. Mary

    If this is truly a training exercise on the Potomac, This is a total disrespect for all our fellow AMERICANS who died innoncently on this day and the President who had to know about it is being very irresponsible. My thought and prayers go out to all the families who lost loved ones today 8yrs. ago. Who ever arthorized this training exercise shmae on you

    Concerned Citizen

    September 11, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  7. John McMahan

    What?? The Coast Guard didn't kiss up to the news media. This Potomic incident is the best drill I've ever seen. This is how it would happen! The drill effects every citizen. And drills shouldn't be announced. I'm reasonably certain the terrorists aren't going to give you a phone call prior to attacking. I am proud of the Coast Guard!


    September 11, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  8. James

    Sad day for the 9-11 familys and America.My heart gos out to them and i hope they can find some comfort thru their faith.Also seems to me Heidi and Fran "exploit this incident" Townsend seems to be blowing that incident on the river out of proportion.So obvious thats what they are doing.

    September 11, 2009 at 10:56 am |
  9. John

    CNN looks REAL Bad with their rushed story about the "incident" on the Potomac this morning. NO other news station was covering it because they were checking the FACTS.

    What a concept. Now CNN will try to cover their butts by saying heads must roll at the Coast Guard.

    September 11, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  10. Stephen Drossel

    Hi Tony,
    Just like the incident on the Potomac this order to get a true measure of how ALL surrounding agencies and municipal organizations will react to a true terrorist situation....secrecy of impending tests HAS to exist, regardless of who the commuting Town & Country's high-middle class's psychic is affected...

    September 11, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  11. Doug

    Why is there not much reported about the spy from China. you want to talk about a disaster waiting. Or about all the guns plus that was found over in Afghanistan this week. That will tell you more people to look out for.

    September 11, 2009 at 11:19 am |
  12. Mark

    Everyone has health insurance, life insurance and even car insurance, but not everyone has insurance for their estate. In addition to two weeks worth of non-perishables and emergency equipment that takes up nearly half of my basement, I for one have a Living Trust, Gold and inflation leveraged investments – not only to protect my investments and derivatives from the financial fall-out of a terrorist attack but from irresponsible government policy from both sides of the aisle. I’ve worked too hard to watch my nest egg disappear for whatever reason.

    September 11, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  13. Bart, Alabama

    America is strong for a reason. People like myself, in uniform, protecting your freedoms, which include your right to comment in this forum in a critical way about the way we protect you, your families and your rights. That requires drills and excercises at a time when they are not expected.

    One of the favorite times of our commanders is in the middle of the night. This is because it is also when our enemies will attack – when we least expect it. But the excercise in the Potomac just points out the difference between those who have served and those who have not.

    Mary, you say it was bad timing and dis-respectful but I say the timing could not have been more opportune and the act of preparing for and preventing the next 9-11 is the greatest tribute we could give the victims.

    Vigilance and preparedness would have prevented the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon on 9-11 and on Pearl Harbor in 1941 but isolationist liberals who do not understand what it takes to defend a nation allowed both to happen.

    One of the Marine Corps generals in WWII off Iwo Jima said of the grunts and sailors making that landing under hostile cannon and machine gun fire, "No-one is more reluctant to fight a war as the warrior but no-one is more willing to fight it".

    So if you are not a warrior, find one and thank him or her for their service and sacrifice or join a military branch to help defend the nation or..........just sit back, enjoy the freedom we provide, keep your opinion to yourself and let us do our job.

    September 11, 2009 at 11:47 am |
  14. vivian

    We in Texas have a Hurricane Preparedness Guide. It lists phone#s for shelters and routes to take in case of evacuation. They also list what to have in your disaster supply kits.(Food, water for 5 days. medicines, ponchos,batteries and so on. They list all State info.#s.County, National, Mobile NHC and NWS Weather Data. You can usually find this info. at local libraries or go to

    September 11, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  15. Mark

    Everyone has health insurance, life insurance and even car insurance, but not everyone has insurance for their estate. In addition to two weeks worth of non-perishables and emergency equipment that takes up nearly half of my basement, I for one have a Living Trust, Gold and inflation leveraged investments – not only to protect my investments and derivatives from the financial fall-out of a terrorist attack but from irresponsible government policy from both sides of the aisle. I’ve worked too hard to watch my nest egg disappear for whatever reason.

    @ Mary
    So, that’s your plan? Jumping to conclusions like William Sandage?
    “…day and the President who had to know about it is being very irresponsible”
    Who’s moderating this? Dan Quayle? I know, I know… it’s PotaTOE.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  16. Mark

    Mr. Sandage, do us all a favor. Keep your skewed thoughts and opinions to urself.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  17. Jean

    On a day as today when 9-11 is being remembered these people chose this day to have a training exercise. Poor taste and lack of concern. They should have thought of this pre-planned exercise and not have it conducted today, September 11, 2009. They should have chosen another day to perform their exercise.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:12 pm |
  18. Jean

    Emergency Plan? Is anyone ready for it no matter how much they think they prepare for it? Food for thought.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  19. Eric - Chicago, IL

    I believe it is more plausible that your staff missed the "Exercise" declaration in listening to your scanners. Perhaps you should attempt to verify before scaring the entire country. A little oversight of the media is in order if you can't police yourselves.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm |
  20. Mike Armstrong TX.

    This is what you do if you here boom boom boom you run like your tales on fire and dont look back until the smoke clears because if your dead then nothing else matters.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  21. Mike Indiana

    Regarding the training exercise on the Potomac by the Coast Guard today, if CNN and other news media were not in such a rush to generate headlines, this would have been a non-event.

    The Communications Secrecy Act of 1934 expressly prohibits the disclosure of the contents of any intercepted two-way radio communications without the express permission of the sender. Had they taken the time to verify what they THOUGHT they heard, this would not have been "news".

    Obviously, a clueless listener intercepted portions of the radio transmissions involved in this incident and, having no idea of the standard operating procedures used, made a mountain out of a molehill by illegally disclosing partial contents of same.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:41 pm |
  22. Lucy, Texas

    I have my granddaughter and her family lives on the Gulf Coast. My Granddaughter during hurricane season is always ready to go. The moment the kids are out of school, she is on the road and ahead of the pack. Her husband follows with the kids pets after he secures the house. Depending on the direction of the storm, she going to stay with the closest relative out of danger and those of us out of the storm notify the others of her decision. We don't bother her while she drives because it is stressful enough. It sounds strange, but her husband (who ends up in heavier traffic) says other drivers in evacuation probably show more courtesy towards him with his vehicle filled with cats and dogs. He says in the slower traffic the kids in the car are pointing at him and waving and that means you get to look the other drivers in the eye. Most drivers refuse to look at you when you turn your blinker on, so you can't expect them to let you in their line.

    September 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  23. Kenda Machorro 360-631-5856 HM


    I am very happy that the website has been created. It can really help people create a plan and know where to start.

    I started a business this Summer also to help people prepare!! We are away from home at least half of our day. That means that if a serious emergency happened there is a 50% chance that we will NOT be at home! The product is a gallon can sealed with 3 day of food for one. See website: I hope that people think about being prepared away from home too, not just in there home. They might not be able to get there.

    Thank you for your time. If you have any questions, feel free to call or e-mail me.

    Kenda in Seattle

    September 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  24. DJ in Denver

    I had a conversation like this with a fellow that worked with me a few years ago. This man was actually worried about this. I told him that he had a better chance of winning the lottery than getting hit by some stray terrorist attack. My father once told me that when it happens to you, the chances become 100%. I thought about this for a few days and went back to my co-worker with this;
    The single most important thing to have in your mind is a real exit strategy. It's like knowing how to get out of your house in case of fire. If you run into an evacuation scenerio the city you live in well become a trap. The nearest exit out of town is the best. if you want to go west and live on the eastern side of town do not go through town, go east first. You should understand that it will be a given that all major ways out will be blocked. If you have a jeep or scooter, something small and off road freindly, it would work best. A real knowledge of the trail system and bike paths may save your life. If you are being evacuated the rules no longer apply, drive the bike path! The only rule is get out don't wait, don't stop, don't hesitate. If the car in front of you dies, push it with yours. I hope this helps.

    September 11, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  25. Kent

    In your (CNN's) coverage of the Rep. Joe Wilson story you are ignoring the element most important to your viewers. WHO IS LYING? What is the status of illegal aliens under the proposed health reform bill?

    We really, really need to know!

    September 11, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  26. Alice

    I really resent the fact that people think if we are not for these wars and don't feel like this is the way to protect our country that we are not being patriotic. That is as far from the truth as you can get. NO one has a monopoly on Patriotism.

    I wish we would have used our young men in the Military to weed out the terrorist here in this country and prevented any additional terrorist from entering our country. We would not have had to lose so many of our men and I would feel a lot safer today. Look at this countries we are fighting in. You will never win wars of this kind and you will never change the thinking of these people. These wars are not worth the loss of one more life.

    I want to thank the men and women in uniform. I wish our leaders would think before they leap.

    September 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  27. James of Houston

    This September 11th, are we any safer with Obama at the helm against terror? The answer, of course is "No, we are not!"

    Unfortunately, it will take another event like 911 before the Dems will understand just how evil and cruel these “radical believers” really are. Until then, the Democrats will continue to grant these horrible, misguided people special legal considerations and transfer them onto American soil and out of the special prison cells where they belong as “armed combatants” in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    September 11, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  28. Chris Ross

    I have supported the GOP since I was old enough to vote, but with the election of Obama, I believe he is the right man for the job. He works harder thatn any President that I am aware of. Highly intelligent and able to go aside the norm to accomplisth great things. I listened to Rush Liimbough for 20 years.......know I turne the radio to something else. I have watched FOX news, especially Bill O'Reily's "No Spin Zone" which I still watch sometimes. But something has changed, and the GOP appears to me as a bunch of little kids who's toy was taken away and given to another group of winners who are trying to represent the American public. As such I came up with this moniker for FOX News that I hope CNN and other outlets and government representatives repeat often for it is powerful (ask New York Times Best Seller Dr. Frank Luntz).......... Sorry for the length of the diatribe. So here is the effective moniker GOP TV. Ok know you can take a breath.
    Thanks for taking the time to read my frustration

    September 12, 2009 at 12:04 am |
  29. DJ in Denver

    I just needed to say something about that thing with the coast gaurd on the Potomac. It's good to know that the Pentagon is well gaurded against a boat attack. I loved the coverage, keep it up. I know you all caught some bad attitudes over the piece. The piece earlier in the week with Rick Sanchez translating the hijacking in Mexico was great too.

    September 13, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  30. Nick in Dallas

    If we get attacked, are we going to unite behind our president like we did after 9/11? I hope so but doubt it. It is like we are 100 years past that date of terror. Where is the unity we once had?

    If we get hit again, I will stay calm and know that rebelling will only cost billions of dollars and support the military-industrial complex. War vs. war doesn't work. If we don't respond and stay strong, they will go after someone else who gets upset. No longer can we allow another group dictate our happiness.

    It's a new age. Time for everyone to recognize it.

    September 15, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  31. mike Therrien

    I think President Carter is correct and actually I am relieved that someone had the guts to call it out. I have heard more than a few racially motivated opinions that the networks dare not air in its entirety.

    September 16, 2009 at 11:11 am |
  32. fishngoddess

    I have attended a Healthcare Forum in Austin, TX and a rally in Dallas. Those who attended in favor of reform are from various races and ethnicities. Those who protested are mostly whites. Perhaps former President Jimmy Carter's comments have merit. However, I pray it does not become a way of sidetracking the issues.

    September 16, 2009 at 11:28 am |