Evacuation Orders

evacuation cartoon 1

Written by:  Doc Savarese                                          Cartoon by:  Peter Copen

It is understandable that the frequent evacuations we have experienced during the past three years have resulted in a myriad of emotional reactions.  One thing for certain is that nobody behaves normally after an emergency evacuation.  The constant barrage of environmental circumstances has caused us to feel like victims due to the surrounding damage or loss.  In investigating the emotional reactions to emergency evacuation, I came across the presentation, “Stages of Evacuation”, published by the Museum of Natural History:  

Stage 1 (Warning stage):  This stage tells us it’s time to take notice and prepare for the eventuality of an evacuation.  I know this may be difficult for some pickleball players who want to finish a game, however, this stage means curtailing play especially when dark clouds, increasing wind, or distant flames are evident.  Selecting a prior pro-active location is a desirable strategy to avoid chaos.

Stage 2 (Impact Stage): This is the stage when the catastrophe hits.  For most of us, this sets us up into a flight or fight response.  Typically emotions are suppressed as we go into an action mode.  With the recent Glass Fire, this necessitated a flight response, although the truth be told, I have heard of some pickleball players who stayed to fight the fire.  This is definitely not recommended since human safety is always more important than structure safety for First Responders.

Stage 3 (Inventory Stage):  Upon returning home from the evacuation, the initial reaction is to acknowledge the efforts of the first responders.  Then reality begins to set in where we assess the damage and or loss.  The emotional ordeal sinks in as we realize that living in Oakmont is a high risk endeavor and also realize our vulnerability to the ravages of wildfires.

State 4 (Recovery Stage):  While most of us who were exposed to the Glass wildfire rebound quickly, there is an appreciable number who experience distress reactions.  While returning to pickleball can be an emotional uplift by promoting behavior which was prevalent before the emergency evacuation, another reaction considered by many who I talked with is moving to a safer location.( ie:  Bend, OR, Palm Springs, out of state, and even international).  Some are thinking about an evacuation by getting out of the area during fire season.

The important thing to note is that emergency evacuations can place an enormous strain upon our relationships.  Red Skelton shared the following humor on relationships:

  • We sleep in separate beds.  Mine is in California and hers is in Texas.
  • I asked my wife where she wanted to go for our anniversary.  She said, “Somewhere where I haven’t been in a long time.”  I suggested the kitchen.
  • I take my wife everywhere but she keeps finding her way back.
  • My wife told me the car wasn’t running well because there was water in the carburetor. 
  •  I asked her where the car was.  She told me, “In the lake.”
  • Remember, marriage is the number one cause of divorce.
  • I married Miss Right.  I didn’t know that her first name was “always”.
  • I haven’t spoken to my wife in 18 months.  I don’t like to interrupt her.
  • Yesterday my husband saw a cockroach in the kitchen.  He cleaned and sprayed everything thoroughly.  Today I am placing the cockroach in the bathroom.

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