As I was driving along this morning, it occurred to me that should an earthquake happen while I was driving, I might find myself in trouble. During the Northridge quake, there were stranded motorists due to downed bridges, freeway overpasses, trees and power lines. It’s something to think about.
At Home or Work: If there is a fire, do you have more than one exit? If you’re in a one story home, most likely. If you’re in a two+ story home, maybe not. While we’re all urged to have fire ladders, how many of us do? It’s something to think about. While thinking about that, don’t forget your workplace. Many places have plans with alternate routes in existence and drill regularly. If not, you may want to suggest it.
Earthquakes: Do you have a standard drive to work or school? If you can make it to your destination on automatic pilot, you may not appreciate some of the dangers in earthquake could cause. In my drive this morning, I went past power poles, electric lines that cross the road, dozens of trees lining the road and under three freeway overpasses. Any one of these could stop me in my tracks.
This has encouraged me to think about the other streets I could take, some of which don’t have as many perils. Having an alternate route is important. You may want to do the same; are there other streets you could take that might be safer?
Floods: This is rarely a problem in our area but a big one in less arid regions and in those areas prone to flash floods. It doesn’t take a lot of water to wash out a road. It also doesn’t take a lot of water to wash away a person or a vehicle.
Finding a safer route may not be easy. Some areas don’t have much in the way of higher ground that’s vehicle accessible. However, do look around. Even should we have a flood, I have alternate routes picked out. It wasn’t easy, but it was doable.
Fires: There are four entrances to our city and two of them are less than a mile apart. When we have big fires such as those in 2003 and 2005, it can make getting into and out of our city hazardous. There are other areas in our region with scantier entrances and exits. It takes knowing they are there because they aren’t the world’s largest roads. In fact, some are so narrow they can’t be parked on during a red flag alert. If you live in a fire prone area, make sure of two thing: One, get out early so you aren’t trapped, and two, know the road systems intimately so you can use alternate routes.
That actually is the most important part of this article. If you live in an area prone to certain dangers (and who doesn’t?), plan routes. The more you can find the better off you will be. It may mean the difference between a long walk home (or death) and safety.