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Your e-mails: States can make a difference

CNN.com readers' ideas for state and local disaster response

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(CNN) -- CNN.com asked readers what suggestions they had for improved local response to emergencies. Here is a sampling of those responses, some of which have been edited:

The only government that needs reorganization is Louisiana. Those elected officials were inept at handling the disaster. How many hurricanes hit the U.S. a year? More than one. Why can Florida, Texas, Alabama and Mississippi etc., handle these disasters without a peep from those elected officials and Louisiana's officials cry on TV about the lack of resources. There was a lack of resources because of their poor planning. They were too busy partying on Bourbon Street.
Laurie, Racine, Wisconsin

Definitely local and state governments should handle preparation. In the case of Katrina, the local and state authorities had four full days to prepare and evacuate (see Florida), they did not. The local authorities should be in a better position to know the needs of their citizens, not the feds! Nagin and Blanco are to blame for what happened in New Orleans. The federal government cannot be expected to handle everything. That's why states were considered sovereign.
Jane Mastan, Grand Island, New York

Disaster response should be as it is, the states' responsibility. However, counties and states should have to meet a higher standard that the federal government should set. I feel that the suburban Philadelphia county where I grew up is well prepared. I worked for a time for the county's emergency services department and saw great interaction between the local municipalities, the county, state (PEMA), and FEMA. Taking things one step further, the local ARES/RACES amateur radio operators were also part of every disaster practice, serving as a backup communications link. The radio operators would be deployed to each town police and fire station in the event of an emergency "just in case."
Pete Ruggieri, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

The military is and should be the resource of last resort. Local officials are entirely responsible for planning and organizing the response to emergencies and natural disasters. State and federal coordination are essential, but preparedness must be local.
Bill Babb, Phoenix, Arizona

This problem stems back to the civil war -- the second biggest disaster to hit the South. The rights of the states were stripped away and we've been fighting ever since to get them back. I'd love to see changes in the government -- it will never happen. We need more power in each state to make a difference. Not some central authority that is unwilling and unable to hear the will of the people. Each state has to have the power to make a difference.
Kurt Owings Mills, Maryland

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