Listen to Audio Interview with Adam Montella, Emergency Management & Homeland Security Expert
The Colony is a ten-part television series [scheduled for Tuesdays at 10PM ET/PT] that follows the lives of ten volunteers living in a simulated post-catastrophic environment. This is the first in a series of articles about the new Discovery Channel reality show and is considered by the show’s producer to be an Experiment.
Every Wednesday for the next ten weeks, DomesticPreparedness.com will feature a short article on the show’s central theme from the previous night. The goal of these articles is to explore the very real consequences of a catastrophic event and to provide a forum for discussion on how to better prepare for, respond to, and recover from a major catastrophe. [A form for your feedback and comment is available by clicking the COMMENTS tab preceding this article.]
By definition, a catastrophe is a mass-casualty incident affecting many thousands, and perhaps millions, of victims. For an event the size and scale of those depicted on The Colony, the TV audience is shown a major city, Los Angeles, without a functional government or supporting infrastructure, but with a small number of survivors – who band together to restart their lives. They possess few physical goods, and must rely on their individual skills and collective sense of adaptability just to survive, and to function from one day to the next. The show sets a post-apocalyptic stage where all players are victims.
The Colonists are 10 strangers who meet in downtown Los Angeles in the wake of a simulated global catastrophe. They represent both genders, all races and religions, and, most importantly, come from different backgrounds and possess different skill sets. To simulate the random nature of an actual catastrophe, the show begins with six Colonists whose only possessions are the clothes they are now wearing. To meet their immediate basic needs, they looted and scavenged everything they could from an abandoned store. A second group arrives later in the show, each carrying a small suitcase. Following a real-life catastrophe, some would have nothing and others would have only the minimal items needed to barely survive.
The show reinforces the importance of each home and each family having a readily available disaster supplies kit. http://www.ready.gov/america/getakit/ actively promotes the necessity of having such a “Go Kit” on hand. The essential supplies and services now taken for granted – such as water, food, electricity, refrigeration, and communications – probably would be unavailable in the aftermath of a real-life catastrophe. It is recommended that a family Go Kit carry enough water, food, and other essentials to sustain each family member for at least three days and perhaps longer.
Being prepared with such essentials before a disaster strikes may be a lifesaver in the event an actual disaster does occur.
Next week’s article will begin to explore more of the issues that the survivors of a catastrophic disaster will face.
Adam Montella is vice president of homeland security and preparedness services for Previstar Inc. and a nationally known emergency-management and homeland-security professional with more than 23 years direct experience in both government and the private sector. He served as the first general manager of emergency management for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the period following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks and has served in many other emergency-management positions at all levels of government. A former member of the House Operations Recovery Team of the U.S. House of Representatives and of numerous local, state, national, and international emergency management associations, he also is a well known public speaker in his chosen field and a former recipient of Harvard University’s prestigious Innovations in American Government Award.