DC Emergency Event Evacuation Plan
Almost 2 1/2 years after 9/11, the city has seen fit to publish a little pamphlet with emergency evacuation information in case there is another 'event'.
The first gem in this little booklet is this: In the event of an emergency, remain where you are unless you are told to evacuate by officials. What this means in real terms is this: In the event of an emergency, stay where you are. Officials will be very busy evacuating people who are much, much more important than you. This includes the President, the Cabinet and other administration officials, Senators, Congressmen, and all Hill staffers, including unpaid interns who only arrived here a week ago. Officials will deal with DC citizens after everyone else has been evacuated. Maybe.
Citizens are also advised of their evacuation routes, all of which lead to 495. Am I the only one who remembers that they immediately closed all of the bridges on 9/11? We might as well stay put and await further instruction, because we're never getting out of here on the three arterial roads that will be available.
Citizens are also reminded that they are responsible for their own pets. I had no idea. Surely city taxes cover pet care in the event of a true emergency?
Also, the good old go-pack rears its head again here. Citizens should have ready at all times a three-day supply of food and water, a flashlight, extra batteries, a radio, etc. Three days is the amount of time it will take you to walk to Virginia or Maryland along a road that does not include a bridge, while convoy after convoy of junior House members and their attendant teenage copygirls from Boise whiz past you. But you'll still get there ahead of your neighbors, who elected to drive their cars (which should always have a half-tank of gas in them, btw.) They'll be sitting in hellish Beltway traffic for at least a week.
There's a lot of large text and graphics in this pamphlet, and you can just tell that the committee who wrote it dumbed it down as far as possible. "What's the reading level of our target audience here?" "Oh, who cares. The people who have to rely on this thing are goners anyway if there's an Event. Let's just make the text really big so there's less editing. Plus, they're probably DC public school grads, so make sure all of the words have two syllables or less."
The best part is the bit about the "well-marked exit routes". The signs look exactly like every other street sign in the city, BUT they say "To 495" with an arrow, so there will be no confusion. Do they think that we might not notice that those signs have always been there? I mean, hello, we know there's no real evacuation plan but they don't have to be so condescending about it.
I think a lot of money could have been saved--perhaps put toward real disaster preparedness?--if they had just given us a tri-fold pamphlet that opened up to say YOU'RE FUCKED.
Coming in Spring 2006 in your Sunday Washington Post: What To Do If You Suspect That You And Your Children Are Slowly Being Poisoned By Lead-Filled Water