Service of If I Was In Their Shoes

October 3rd, 2022

Categories: Decisions, Evacuation Order, Hurricane, Storm


Image by David Mark from Pixabay

After all the fires, floods and hurricanes in the news it’s hard not to think “what would I do?” if faced with an evacuation order.

I still can’t wipe from my memory the victim of hurricane Sandy–its 10th anniversary upcoming–who ignored such an order because he had lived in his 9 foot high bungalow adjoining a Staten Island, N.Y. beach since he was little and no storm had harmed him. He drowned because the unprecedented surge filled the bungalow with water to the ceiling.

When asked to evacuate some people don’t have the energy or physical ability or place to go or the money to move or they have pets that won’t be allowed in an evacuation center. In Florida 2,300 have been rescued so far with more to save.

And what about the others who won’t budge and have no excuse? They are the ones first responders rescue at risk of their own lives. Tragically some become victims of nature’s ferocity.

It’s easy for me to guess from the protection of the four walls of my apartment what I’d do but I think I’d clear out when ordered from a house so I could take a few precious belongings with me. Those wading through waist-deep water to escape homes flooded by Ian’s wrath are all empty handed.

Remember the scene in “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge” where the couple continues to eat dinner alone, upstairs, at their Kansas City country club during a tornado? I’d be in the basement with the rest of the members who were there that night along with waitstaff.

Would you evacuate when asked or stick out/hunker down in a fire, flood, tornado or hurricane? When Sandy hit people in the building in which I now live–and all those south of 40th Street–they were without electricity for more than a week. It’s something for me to think about.


Image by Didier from Pixabay

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13 Responses to “Service of If I Was In Their Shoes”

  1. Kathleen Said:

    Wonder the same questions, Jeanne. I don’t know which I would do, stop or go. But for many people ask “Where’d we go?”
    The inclination is to stay at home, but like Sanibel folks are now really isolated. Don’t know which I’d do, stay or go.

  2. ASK Said:

    We live in one of the most densely populated areas of the country. If an order were given to evacuate, where would we go? I can only imagine the lines of cars trying to leave the NY Metro area via the bridges and tunnels, the LIE, the Jersey Turnpike, and the Cross-Bronx Expressway. Sadly, I believe we are essentially sitting ducks. Living in a high rise on top of the Palisades, I do recall a blackout when my gas stove, unelectrified antique chandelier in the dining room, and landline phone (I have yet to give it up, finding out that cell phones often don’t function well in emergencies) made our apartment a gathering place for the discomfited and the anxious. I made lots of spaghetti.

  3. Linda Levi Said:

    Linda on Facebook: To me it’s like insurance — you don’t want to ever need it but you better have it if you do. Evacuation is for your potential safety so only sensible thing to do if you ask me.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Kathleen,

    Although it has been a decade the shock of Sandy in NYC seems like yesterday to me. It took years for NYU Langone hospital’s main facility to recover, for example. The East River had its way with all the equipment at basement level. It can happen again.

    Where to go? A hotel room or friend or relative’s home if you can get there.

  5. Anonymous Said:

    ASK,

    After 9/11 my Verizon office phone was the only one that worked. I was a tenant in a law firm that had fallen for some new fangled cheaper phone provider and it took days for their phones to be up and running. I didn’t serve spaghetti but nevertheless was popular with the lawyers and administrators.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Linda,

    Experts are usually right or have the most up to date weather info.

    I always attended fire drills conducted in my office buildings while many kept working at their desks. There are times to be macho but not then. I knew a woman who died of smoke inhalation in her apartment building because she ran to stairs that were filled with smoke. In an office building instructions would come over a loudspeaker to direct tenants to the appropriate floor and/or stairwell. My guess is that the macho crew would be the ones to panic or worse–if they didn’t listen and stayed at their desks.

  7. Hank Goldman Said:

    I feel so bad for the people who lost so much to mother nature‘s fury!

    To answer your question, I don’t really know what I would do… I guess I would pack up my essentials in a backpack, but my question is… Where do you go? How far can you go? Will the roads be clogged? Will I have enough gasoline? Will there be enough space in whatever vehicles are evacuating people?
    Really really tough to answer.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Hank,

    All good questions.

    Every once in a while I see a TV commercial that asks a family if they have a plan for emergencies: where will they meet if something happens? etc. Gruesome perhaps but a good idea.

  9. Lucrezia Said:

    Lucrezia on Facebook: Most such problems are too horrible to contemplate, so why think of anything unless there’s a high probability of being in harm’s way? Even then there may be no answers and the only avenue of escape is dumb luck.

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    Leaving when instructed isn’t luck, it’s following an order, also stressful but a prudent decision. Luck or fate is what a storm does to a person’s house and property.

  11. Lucrezia Said:

    Lucrezia on Facebook:

    Nowhere did I suggest flying in the face of common sense. It’s clear that when a volcano rumbles, one runs, and when floods threaten one flees, and in neither case, assuming half a brain, would one need “orders” to save one’s skin! Since the nearest volcano is over a thousand miles away and this area is not prone to seasonal floods, it makes no sense to dwell on what may happen. The car’s gas tank is always refilled when half full in the event of an unforeseen emergency. I prefer precaution to worry.

  12. Rosemary Hittmeyer Said:

    Rosemary on Facebook: As someone who lives in a FEMA red zone We have dealt with it all and take it seriously. In an average storm a potted plant can turn into a cannon ball. The first thing you look at is when are the high tides? That can make all the difference. And Mandatory Evacution doesn’t mean what you think it does. It means you don’t have to leave ( that’s your legal right) BUT if you get in trouble no one is coming to help you, as it deemed too dangerous for first responders to come out. That you have to take serious and get outta Dodge.

  13. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Rose,

    Storms are scary anywhere as none of us can win in a fight against nature at its fiercest. I always wonder what goes on in the minds of those who stay behind when warned, given that they are physically able to evacuate and have somewhere to go. For some the reasoning may be similar to those who think they can power through a case of Covid so they pass on getting a vaccine.

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