R.V. Doon

Hurricane Blues and Evacuation

When I uploaded my first ebook, Body Wave, up on Amazon, I was in a hurry because Mobile was listed as a city in Tropical Storm Issac’s strike zone. I thought it ironic that while I prepared my home for a hurricane the book featured one dubbed, the Fiend. I didn’t have long to wait before the wind and rain came, but overall Mobile had little damage and was left water-logged. I thought the news had posted up old photos of flooding after Katrina, but no, Issac flooded poor Louisiana again and left many homeless. Then, I noticed the press questioning why people didn’t evacuate. In other words, what part of the evacuation orders did they not understand.

Well, here’s a news flash that’s rarely mentioned. People get fired for evacuating. No, you say, that can’t be true. After all, the Governor issues evacuation orders. Still it’s true, people have been fired and once you’ve been fired for missing hurricane duty don’t expect to be hired somewhere else. There are policies against it in major institutions like hospitals. Police, nurses, ED docs, respiratory therapists, hospital cooks, power company workers, water company employees, ambulance attendants…the list is long and most can’t evacuate. If they do evacuate without special clearance, they won’t have a job when they get back even if the storm doesn’t come in. You miss your hurricane duty and that’s it. Worse, people are called in for emergency duty days before the storm strikes, heck, days before anyone is even sure if it will strike or fade away. Imagine the stress of being placed on hurricane duty and you’re a single mother. The best you can do is leave your infant, toddler, child with family in a safe house inland or wave helplessly as they evacuate. If a hurricane strikes, it could be weeks before you see your baby again.

Not every employee is in the first wave–those that spend the night. Some are designated second wave to move in immediately after the storm and relieve the first wave. Tree fell into your house? Better not miss your hurricane duty. For the record, I’ve spent many a night sleeping in a hospital and the storm faded away. Hospitals err on the side of caution. For the record, I’ve never evacuated. Nurses married to policeman just don’t have that choice.

In Body Wave, Reece Carson the protagonist, doesn’t evacuate. She has patients to take care of. She lives inland and not in a flood zone. If she lived near a river, in a flood zone, or near a dam or levee I would have moved her to a designated shelter. But don’t always think people are stupid or fool hardy when they don’t evacuate. Some have good reasons. Hey, check out my cover and let me know what you think.

 

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