Monday, August 18, 2008

The Color of Safety

Hurricane (at this moment really a Tropical Storm) Fay is on her way to my area (you can track our storm by clicking the image above).

Schools will be closed on Tuesday, which happens to be the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL here. All the preparation that goes into that very first day of school is now put on hold.

I doubt anyone is disappointed.

We have bigger things to worry about.

Hurricane preparedness is a normal occurence here from roughly the end of May through November of each year. Personally, my family is ready. Hopefully we won't need to enact any of these precautions.

- We replaced all our windows 2 years ago to meet hurricane standards and installed hurricane shutters
- We replaced our garage door last year and it is hurricane resistant.
- We've been collecting extra water since May.
- We have plenty of canned foods on hand and other non-perishables
- We have two cars whose gas tanks are full.
- We have an evacuation plan if needed.

On our utility bills is a color which indicates which evacuation zone we're in.

Believe it or not, we live in a NON-EVACUATION ZONE. But that's not true for most in our community.

Each color indicates an action to be taken. I started to wonder about how we categorize kids in the schools - those with special learning needs. Each category determines action to be taken to meet specific needs. But just as not everyone in the purple zone will NOT evacuate tonight as advised, not all children who fall into those special needs categories will get what they need. Whose job is it to make sure that they do?

Even during a category 5 hurricane, during a mandatory evacuation, authorities can't force people to abandon their homes, even if their life depends on it. We saw that during Hurricane Katrina. Not everyone in New Orleans evacuated. But we all discovered that not everyone is able to evacuate, even when it is mandated.

So they are left behind to fend for themselves.

What of our children? Which of those with special needs are left behind, not because they don't want to take action, but because they are unable to - either due to their home situation or social or economic status?

Am I saying that the richer you are, the better able you are to get your needs met?


Look at who has to evacuate tomorrow - those living in mobile homes - and the truth of the matter is that those who live in these mobile homes tend to make less money than those of us who live in a "white" zone. That's what the non-evacuation color is - white.

Just something to think about.