The Soapbox Papers

The Soapbox Papers is my two-cents worth.

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Location: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

I am a cross between Tinkerbell and Calamity Jane.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Survival Plan

Given that most of the physical victims of the Gulf Coast Disaster that was Katrina were poor folk, and many were older and/or disabled, many on Social Security and /or Social Security Disability and others receiving some sort of aid to families with dependent children, is it possible that the timing of the storm made much of a difference?

A neighbor said that this morning. She said that, because it was the end of the month, when those on fixed and limited incomes are the most strapped for cash, more people were unable to evacuate than if the storm had come through even a day or two later. Those who remained didn't have a lot of food in the house, and probably had no emergency gallons of drinking water stashed away, either. Prescription medications, a couple of days' supply left, may have been ready for their monthly refill. The gas gauge in the car (if there was a car) was probably on E, ready for it's monthly infusion of gas.

It sounds like we need a Plan B.

Because I live on the Florida coastline, I check into these things. My community is prepared. Anyone who needs assistance to evacuate is encouraged to register with the Fire Department. If one is not registered, one can still be assisted, but will have to wait out his/her turn on the list. (Those who have previously registered are reminded to keep their addresses current on the registry.) There are lists available everywhere that one can use while creating an emergency supply box. Things to include are batteries and flashlights, water, necessary medications, first aid kit, a pre-paid phone card, and more - but you get the idea. Important papers should be encased in plastic, photos and such in waterproof (zip loc) freezer weight bags, just in case. And it is more important that any other time that each of us carry up-to-date identification with next of kin listed as well as medical conditions. If one hasn't already put In Case of Emergency (ICE) information on one's cell phone, not is a good time to do it. Even if you can't make a call, the information will be accessible as long as the battery is good. And that reminds me -- when the very first hurricane warnings come, plug in the cell phone to charge, even if you have no minutes left - for just the above reason. Check with neighbors and church groups to see who needs a way to evacuate, or who can find room to take you (or others who have no car) to safety.


I am one of the lucky ones -- the patch of earth where I live will be one of the two islands left of Pinellas County if St. Petersburg meets up with Category 5 hurricane. I live on the 7th floor, which means I will be requested to move down to somewhere on the first five floors during a storm, but I won't have to evacuate. In the event of such a thing, I will toss my car keys to someone who must evacuate, put Liberty in her carrier, pack up whatever is in the freezer and refrigerator to share, and go visit the neighbors.

With such a large community, even toward the end of the month there will be, somewhere amongst us, food for everyone, and even enough to share with those who come visit us to be safe. We have sense enough to keep drinking water on hand. There is a resident management team where I live that keeps a supply of canned goods, blankets, and assorted other necessities that we all contribute to when we can, as a bit of added insurance. There are large rooms for meetings to be held and announcements made, so we should have some realistic idea of what is going on. And I have neighbors who really care about one another.

I just reviewed my survival plan. It's a good time for everyone in a vulnerable location to do that. If there are holes in yours, find a way to fill them in so you will have less to worry about should the unthinkable happen in your community.

And pray that if disaster comes, it doesn't come at the end of the month.


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