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June 17, 2024

Michigan Governor – “Lives will be lost because we were not prepared”

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 28, 2020

Michigan (ECWd) –

Having worked in the Emergency Services field most of my adult life, it appears the very systems we operate under day in and day out have gone somewhat ignored by those in politics, until now when a large scale emergency hits. Sadly, the time to learn how the system is supposed to work is not during the emergency.

There will be a time every state and the US Government will need to have what we call the tail-board discussion.  It’s that talk after the fire to identify what we did wrong, what we could have done differently, and what we did right. It’s done for the purpose of making the next incident go smoother than the last. Some call it progressive learning through failures.

The one thing we don’t do in the middle of those fires or even after is cast the blame on others for our own failures.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer took to the airways of national media recently and we hope her statements will result in a “tail-board” discussion at some point.

  • “Lives will be lost because we weren’t prepared.” MLive

That one statement says a lot.  As we pointed out in this article, when our States fail to plan, they plan to fail.  I think the one thing that is clear, no one in the world was prepared for what we are seeing which begs the question, when will our politicians realize that and stop the blame game and deal with the problem?

  • “When the federal government told us that we needed to go it ourselves, we started procuring every item we could get our hands-on,” Crains Detroit Business

A question for the tail-board discussion down the road, why did we wait until the fire to start procuring what we need?  Other than test kits and ventilators, the items being requested are the basic Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) we in the emergency services industry use daily.

With that in mind, I fully understand there are those “fires” that kick our tails for an assortment of reasons.  It appears the Chinese Virus “COVID-19” is one of those fires.   When that happens, things do go bad and when the last ember is out and we go back to quarters, we feel terrible for our failures and take every lesson learned and do our best to make sure it does not happen again. As a Fire Chief, the one thing we don’t do is hold a press conferance in the middle of the fire and start blaming others as that never solves the problem and only makes going forward harder.

  • “Frankly, a patchwork strategy of each state doing what they can, we’re going to do it if we need to, but it would be nice to have a national strategy,” she said, according to MLive.

Going to do it if we need to? 

The United States is a Constitutional Republic comprising of 50 States, commonly referred to as 50 independent experiments. Past national incidents resulted in one of those tail-board discussions at the Federal level.   From that, the National Incident Management System was created.  It was designed to be used nationally. However, it is a bottom-up approach, not a top-down as we explained in this article.   We in the Emergency Services understand it because we deal with it on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, it appears some Governor’s spent so much time in politics getting where they are they failed to realize there is more to running a state than shaking hands, kissing babies, and blaming others when their failure to plan gets exposed.

It’s clear to me, the badly needed tail-board discussion never took place at the state levels after EBOLA in 2014MERS COV in 2013, H1N1 Flu in 2009, and SARS in 2003. Had those discussions taken place with a level of appropriate seriousness at the state level, I don’t believe we would be seeing many of the problems we are seeing some Governors complain about today.

For those interesting in learning about the Federal Government’s role in the NIMS system during an emergency and what is involved in the Strategic National Stockpile, we encourage them to do their own research and learn how our system is set up and supposed to work.

If we do not learn from history we are bound to repeat the same failures. It would do many of our leaders good if they would learn the system for themselves rather than depending on some political handler telling where their next interview is or what fundraiser is next.

Let’s pray each and every State realizes the importance of their own preparation obligations in the future.  In fact, why not plan with the attitude there is no one coming to help you.  We call that planning for the worst and hoping for the best.

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  • Jbw
    Posted at 11:53h, 28 March Reply

    Typical politicians unqualified for the job, blame everyone else

    • Ann
      Posted at 21:11h, 28 March Reply


  • James J. Pancrazio
    Posted at 13:39h, 28 March Reply

    I wouldn’t blame it all on politicians. People vote for what the want to hear. A good example was a referendum several years ago in Davenport, Iowa, one of the Quad Cities. The issue up for vote was to dedicate funds or not to fortifying the levees that protect the city from flooding. The funds would have come from local tax. Residents voted the measure down, and the next year the Mississippi flooded the city.

    • Kirk Allen
      Posted at 07:34h, 29 March Reply

      Oh how true! We have lost all critical thinking and Im afraid it’s only going to get worse.

  • Heather
    Posted at 17:57h, 28 March Reply

    Listen you talk about the president just as much. Instead of making this about how the republicans are treating the poor Democrats start thinking about the people in Michigan. You bicker like a child and personally I am sick of it.

  • Therese
    Posted at 17:59h, 28 March Reply

    We need to support our Michigan Governor.

  • Laura
    Posted at 18:24h, 28 March Reply

    Unite not fight! Quit talking about blame and work together. It causes more stress to engage in negativity

  • Larry Woodward
    Posted at 19:18h, 28 March Reply

    When a first term governor is asked by the DNC to deliver the Democratic response to the State of the Union address you have to ask yourself why. Could it be she is easily influenced to regurgitate the Democratic talking points at every opportunity? That response was loaded with anti Trump remarks as has been every address since.

  • Dave
    Posted at 19:19h, 28 March Reply

    Move her out. She is not a pro Governor. I see a me too what Ohio does she follows

  • KF
    Posted at 19:24h, 28 March Reply

    Put on your big girl pants and YOU stop the blame game. Everyone is worried and doing the best they can; pulling together in amazing ways! This is the greatest country in the world and it is times like this that remind us of that! I think the Federal government, the American people, the hospital workers, all those risking their lives and others doing whatever they can to help this country survive are not complaining and THEY didn’t ask for the job they have now!

  • Melinda
    Posted at 19:37h, 28 March Reply

    She says not to blame yet has been blaming Trump and the Federal Government for weeks now

  • Tracey L Baker
    Posted at 20:02h, 28 March Reply

    Indeed being on thelocal FD for many years and having to deal with NIMS testing, setup, etc., it seems that most states set everything up but only had the local part and basically ignored the “state” part. Federal and State governments always seem to put regulations in place but fail to fund or explain how to fund these mandates. Also political types, even local ones, when they take office dont realize and do not learn that they are partially responsible for EMS, especially in an emergency likea Govenor.

  • John Wayne
    Posted at 20:45h, 28 March Reply

    Frankly, quit running for Joe Biden’s VP and do your job and quit blaming the federal government for the failures of state government!!

  • Ann
    Posted at 21:10h, 28 March Reply

    How is it that they want to help all the unemployed people in these United States with some relief & one party had to put in the bill that the senate seems to think that it’s ok to get a raise for themselves?!? A raise? Really??! That is the most disgusting & selfish thing I have ever heard!! What exactly have you done besides cost taxpayers more money for the last 31/2 years? Spend a little less time trying to get President Trump out & do something for the people you work for. At least all these people that were laid off because of the Coronavirus know what it’s like to work for their money!! Go out a do a weeks worth of work that every day people do & then if you still think you deserve a raise you should get it!!

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