Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Disaster Preparedness of Olympic Proportions

As the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi are just around the corner, I figured I'd give an update on how the Russians are taking disaster preparedness into consideration.

Security in Sochi

The main concern for the Russians is security, and a noticeable presence has been beefed up in areas that have anything to do with the Olympic Games. Different zones have been declared, such as "controlled" and "forbidden," and security forces number in the tens of thousands. With various Russian agencies taking different aspects of the security, they are ever vigilant for the threats that have been launched against the games. Flying drones, security boats on the Black Sea, intelligence, air-defense rockets, and good ol' uniformed personnel are some of the measures taken.

On the U.S. side of disaster preparedness for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Department of Defense and the Department of State are taking measures in case of large-scale evacuations: the U.S. will place warships nearby that will allow helicopters to evacuate U.S. citizens and C-17s will be on standby in Germany for even larger evacuations. Of course, these are entirely precautionary measures should a disaster occur, but it is better to err on the side of caution.

It's too early to predict accurate weather forecasts for the Games but in case the weather turns too warm, around 450,000 cubic meters of last year's snow has been stored and will come to the rescue.

Good luck to Team USA!

Amitai "Tai" S. Zuckerman
Preparedness Coordinator
American Red Cross – Tulare and Kings Counties
AmeriCorps NPRC Member 2013-2014
Community Preparedness and Resilience Services

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