You just never know when or where a man-made disaster will strike but the one thing you can count on is that eventually it will happen. Last night, we had an industrial fire in our area that was large enough and toxic enough to warrant an evacuation covering about one square mile inside of a nearby city. This is the second such evacuation to occur around here in the last 2 years.
The fire started in an abandoned factory that had been previously used for coating metals. The EPA had recently started an official “Clean-up” of the property since it had been deemed toxic. The local news stations did a decent job of covering the incident and we learned that the fire was extinguished rather quickly but smoke and vapors from the fire had gotten out of control and were being carried by the breeze into and over a section of the city that was residential. It was mentioned several times that the vapor most likely contained hydrogen cyanide.
Residents in the immediate area were instructed to evacuate while residents along the fringes were instructed to shelter-in-place. Two shelters were established, one at a church/school facility and another at a fire station.By 7AM this morning most evacuees had gone home after spending the night in a shelter or at a relative’s home.
The entire story along with news conference videos can be accessed by clicking HERE
I know we post here quite a bit about evacuations. Large natural disasters are very rare but they get all the attention. You and I are far more likely to be impacted by the thousands of small but just as deadly local man-made disasters.
I’d be willing to bet that at least half of last night’s evacuees had never considered being prepared for the possibility of being forced out of their home at a moments notice. The residents who still happened to be in the shelters this morning were interviewed by the news reporters and they seemed absolutely clueless about preparedness. The local Red Cross and Fire Department did an outstanding job of stepping in to manage the situation but why would anyone make the choice to be a burden on them?
How quickly could you evacuate?
How quickly could you evacuate with essential supplies and documents?