Reader Steelheart left a comment on the last post asking about community shelters to help talk people out of planning to stay in one during a disaster.
I listen to Alex Jones a couple times a week. I think he has some good information, and really has an in depth understanding of the darker side of government. I don't remember if it was him or a caller that talked about the government forcing Sandy evacuees into FEMA camps up in NJ, NY and PA.
Now, I can't speak to what happens in local emergency management offices in other areas, but that's not how it goes around here. Sheltering operations are costly, time and manpower exhausting, inconvenient, but a necessary evil for the vulnerable populations in a community.
My interpretation of why we have shelters is so that residents who truly have nowhere else to go during a disaster that makes it unsafe for them to stay in their home, have someplace relatively safe to go. Nearly all of the people seeking shelter are among the city's poorest. Many have health issues (some mental, some physical). Some have addictions or criminal history issues. Most will not maintain hygiene in a shelter situation. If that is not enough to motivate a person to avoid a shelter, the cots are in close quarters and you will be surrounded by people snoring, screaming, crying and farting. There is no privacy whatsoever.
During Hurricane Irene we opened two different shelter locations and had about 400 people sheltered at the peak. During Sandy, we had just a small handful. We had the shelter set up with about 100 cots. There was plenty of room to add more if they were needed, but those 100 were set up close together to keep that extra room available.
Here's what it looked like after set up but before anyone checked in:
Oh yeah... You don't decide when the lights go out... and do you really want to sleep around all those strangers with the lights off?
Why do I prep? So I never have to be in the position of deciding that my wife and I would be better off in a community shelter. If you have family or friends who say that they plan to go to a shelter, please get them to read this and that they know what they are getting in to. All that being said, if you are in a position of joining a CERT team or volunteering in a shelter, you can really help those who need it most and may be unable to prepare on their own.
Steelheart - Thanks for the suggestion!