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Volume 32, Issue 4

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015 05:00

The Language of Preparedness

Written by  Jim Sharp, PCP

In the early 1990s I spent several years as the director of emergency services for one of the largest federal and state office complexes in the Midwest, and within a few weeks of taking the position I found myself filling in on a weekend shift for one of my officers. Severe weather was all around us, and just after I arrived to take over from the day shift it was as if the sky exploded with almost continuous lightning, howling wind, trees snapping in the parking lot and, barely audible above it all, the tornado sirens starting to wail. Suddenly the cleaning crew bursts out of the elevator, heading down the corridor for the exit at a dead run. All are recent immigrants from South Korea. Their English was minimal at best. They were all obviously frightened, and the only word we had in common is “tornado.” Fortunately for them (and