Monday, October 6, 2014

Real Emergency: Up The Creek Without Paddles

We've all been there a time or two wishing we had remembered to grab a paddle. Some time ago I wrote a piece about Emergency Preparedness as it pertains to my area and how I perceive what a real emergency would look like. I know they've prepared for it but what will it really look like in the case of a real event? The answer? Many will be up Shit Creek without a paddle. 

This was written not long after I left my job at the local
convenience storeWhen I posted it then I think like maybe fifteen people read it. I am not a psychic or anything, but I think we all need to git down to the paddle store. Walk don't run. 

An emergency can arise at any moment.  The tractor trailers carrying hazardous materials on I-81, the trains that run through here daily anything can pose hazmat situation in an instant as well as other emergencies related to weather conditions. What would we do in a real emergency?

Honestly there was a time that I thought that if something occurred here in the county we would be up the creek and a lot of people wouldn't have paddles. 
I worked for many years at a convenient store here in town. There were several occasions that tornado warnings were issued and our boss would not allow us to lock the store down to seek shelter. Emergency weather conditions do not stop people from going out. Even during a tornado warning. 

I have worked through bad storms, tornado warnings and hurricane strength winds and rains and also blizzards while standing at a cash register getting those sales. We used to make jokes about it. Whatever we do don't let go of the cash register! 

I don't work for any convenience store now so that when I think about those years through the storms there it disgusts me that store operators only think about the money and how many cups of coffee or hot dogs, beer, cigarettes and liquor sales they would lose during the time that the store was locked down even for employee safety. 

It was because of that thinking that we often made jokes about the seriousness of a real emergency. It was those times during emergencies that you would probably not believe me but people rushed in for beer and liquor, they had to get those lotto tickets and I can't forget those two for $3.00 hot dogs that people just had to have and all during a tornado warning. The joking about it just couldn't be helped. 

It was then that I pictured a real emergency looking a lot like an Abbott and Costello meeting the Key Stone Cops all I could think about the mass loss of life around here. 
Seriously I do not think it would go as the people in emergency management plans it especially with all of the Abbott and Costello meets KeyStone Cops type scenarios that I am thinking about right now.

I picture a mass evacuation could possibly lead to a lot of loss of life. First is the bad and aggressive driving and road rage. I can imagine a lot of blood shed from those packing Louisville Sluggers and 30 .06’s and that's just from the bad driving!

The mandatory closing of the Martinsburg Mall and all retail stores, lets not forget the convenience stores and definitely Wal-Mart. Shopping doesn't equal emergency shelter. It'd be like Black Friday with real door busters and I'm not referring to sales. Then of course this...
  • Convenience stores- I used to work in a convenience store. The logic of many would be “what no hotdogs?” To think of the casualties from flash mobbing to get the basics: liquor, beer, wine and their Keno tickets.
  • Fast food places- many here would mistake the drive thru windows for the main evacuation route.
  • Gambling shacks and casino's- holy cow can you imagine the injuries having to literally pull people off the handles of the slot machines? They'd have to bulldoze through the joints and over top of the black jack tables.
  • Liquor stores, bars, strip clubs- I am certain these places would turn into their own “Titanic.” Many would go down with those ships.
Anyone who has ever worked in customer service around these parts or in any of these venues knows exactly what I am talking about regarding some of the “local yokels” in these parts.
I am sure the jails would be full because of the mandatory closing of the places mentioned above. Mainly because I am guessing the police would have to go out in full riot gear, and probably short of arresting many of the owners; be ready for a full outright riot. I picture it worse than the recent riots in Mis... ne'er mind. But sad huh?

We should all be educating ourselves as to our own needs in the event of a true emergency and what we would do if the time came that we had to get out of Dodge quick, fast and in a hurry.
IMO- It is sad imagining and knowing that my community is this unprepared for any type of emergency. Hopefully the time will never come when it becomes a real test. 
Resources for this post:
pic credit: I am Not a Hamster
pic credit: The Metapicture

Post written by: © 2014 Gossip Girl


  1. They couldn't let you seek shelter? That's terrible.

    Most people here would be injured in the rush to get bread and milk at the store.

  2. When the time comes, I'll be hunkering down in my home feasting on my dehydrated fair.

    Hugs and chocolate!

  3. L. Diane No they wouldn't and the times we laughed and joked was about all we could do. I imagine many will be injured in a real emergency. :(

    Shelly- LOL I hear that! :)

  4. Sometimes you just have to let nature weed out the stupid...

  5. Alex Hilarious. I wanted to put that in the post! I was afraid others would be offended if I did! :)

  6. I like to think people are more worried about staples; but I gotta say I'd hate to run out of wine in an emergency, lol.

    However, I think people here in the US just don't ever truly believe in a Real Emergency. Well, maybe in the southern states that are frequently flooded by huricanes. Its just hard to believe in that much devastation. Personally, I'll be the one riding it out; I'd rather get killed by the storm than by some crazed nut trying to get the last hot dog.

  7. Disasters seek out towns like that. All you can do is pray and be prepared where you are. And tell your boss, Nickel beer couldn't make me stay!


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