21 September 2008

When told to go...then GO!

From the Citizen Soldier side: As most of my readers know, I've been involved in a few things in my life. Or motto we came up with when I was in the Calif Army National Guard Engineers was: "The four seasons of the Cal Guard- Floods, Fires, Earth Quakes & Riots."
Several years ago I was called up to go to the "Russian River" area in California...they said that there was a 100% chance that it was going to flood.
So, we loaded up our 1968 vintage 5 Ton Dump Trucks (which weigh about 28,000 pounds empty) and headed out to the river area fire stations.
We were pre-positioned ahead of the flood. They knew that the main roads from the western areas (closer to the cost) were going to be under a lot of water. Our job was to support the local law, assist the fire departments and evacuate people who made it to the fire stations.
All of the residents were told that they had to leave the low grounds...that no rescue was going to go into the rapid moving water and save people...there were not going to be any helicopter rescues....in other words, if you were in the flood zone, move your ass to higher ground before the flood.

Still, a lot of people didn't take the warning...why? Because of a few reasons. Reason 1: they were stoned / drunk and didn't know what was going on.
Reason 2: they were too friggen stupid. Or, 3: a combination of those 2.
The day the river flooded, my 5 ton truck, my assistant driver and me were at one of the fire stations way out west. The fire chief told us that there was a fire truck stuck and wanted to know if we could go help pull it out since we had a winch. I was happy to help.
The truck was stuck in a yard of a house...the water was moving fast...breaking out windows in the house and washing away everything in the yard. As we drove into the yard, my 28,000 pound truck started to drift sideways. I almost shit my pants. The water was that deep and that strong to move my truck like it was a Volkswagen.
I kept the throttle steady...I had it in all wheel drive...and we made it to the stuck fire truck. My assistant, a brave little E-4 jumped into the water and hooked our line to the truck and we were able to pull it to higher ground.
Later that day, we were sent to the red cross station. Some crazy volunteer lady was yelling at me to drive my truck right up to the building so the refugees wouldn't get wet walking out to the street. The building was surrounded by a parking lot full of cars...try to think how big my truck was...there was no way I could drive it into that parking lot full of cars....
So, I put her in all wheel drive, low range and drove over the flower planter they had between the sidewalk and the parking lot and backed her right up to the damn door. Destroying the flower planter in the process---but making my own exit path.
Who did we have to load up? A bunch of drunk, stoned semi-homeless, hippie, dreggs of the county. Most of them were still drunk/stoned and started to complain that there was no heat in the back of the truck---and they wanted to ride up front.
I pointed out, that my truck was returned from Viet Nam and it had no heat in the cab either.
Later that night, a drunk guy woke up in his house....he called the fire department and said: "can you come rescue me, there's water all around my house."
People kept calling for a helicopter to come and get them. After we told them we had no air support, but we could send a 5 ton, they said" Never mind, I wanted the helicopter to rescue me."

Go check out youtube and see the Coast Guard rescues from Hurricane Ike....think about how each time they pull up some dumbass...they are risking their own lives....oh it looks exciting and dramatic....but if it was me that they were pulling up, I'd not want my face on the news because I was a dumbass.

When told to leave because a flood, fire etc is coming....get the hell out. People who stay behind are stupid and put those who get stuck rescuing dumbasses in danger. If I had sunk my 5 ton saving a bunch of semihomelessdrunkbumbs, I would have been very upset.

(if you were one of them dumbasses, I'm so sorry if I offended you.)


J said...

Yep...they need to go or take their chances. The should be at the very least be billed for the rescue if the evac was mandatory in their area. I couldn't live with myself if I caused the death or injury of rescue workers because I was a stubborn fool. Then there's the massive search and rescue efforts...that endanger more lives.
The level of stress and worry you put on friends and family who are left wondering if you survived isn't too nice either...
...a little planning and common sense goes a long way.

Hope said...

we stayed. it was stupid and I am still barely speaking to my dear husband, but we stayed. I prepared as if we would be SOL for three weeks (ie on our own) and that expense alone ought to deter my significant other from making that kind of decision again. Well and I'd have gnawed an arm off before I climbed up on the roof and let CNN put us on tv. Several folks who shall remain nameless would have NEVER let me live that down. No mercy f-heads.

~Resident Dumbass

J said...

I think I do need to add that we need to take better care to help the elderly evacuate. Too many fell between the cracks...and didn't make it out. The gov of Gal. was a bit too 'laid back'...and the people took their que from her...to their detrament.
The people who knew better had no excuse...and took away resourses from people who actually needed help.