Evacuation Procedures

evacuation procedure

Proverb 30:4

4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?KJV

In 2005 while Hurricane Katrina was swiftly closing in on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a new friend and I were building a bridge of camaraderie. While we talked with one another I suddenly realized how fragile life is when faced with the inevitable destruction of God’s fury. One moment everything was calm and normal and then in just a matter of moments, it seemed the whole world became nothing but utter chaos.People in Hattiesburg were not just strolling through WalMart as they normally would.They, along with millions from Louisiana, were forced into a mindset of self-preservation that required that they meet calamity head-on.Warnings were issued, yet there were millions who ignored the warnings and found themselves being counted as casualties because of their lack of caution and regard for the peril that was heading their way.

What is it in man that drives him to push the envelope?Why do so many ignore the inevitable destruction that is certain to bring great harm and possibly death?Do they have a “death wish” of some sort or is it that they still believe “It won’t happen to me!”

Denial thrusts us into the fiercest of storms both literal and figurative.We know that the danger is real but we just keep denying that—it will affect me.We may continue to deny that there is a real danger but it does not lessen the danger.We must learn to allow the Lord to help us during these times.We must remember that if it were not for the Lord none of us would stand a ghost of a chance against the elements.We must face the facts that we have no control over the Katrinas that may come, nor do we have control over many of life’s spiritual storms.What we must first realize is that circumstances may sometimes be greater than our strength or our intellect. Once we have come to this conclusion we must then submit our whole body, soul, and mind to Jesus Christ who has the power to rescue us as we are tossed by the storms of our lives. Some things are much bigger than we are. It is only when we realize this that we allow God to be God in our lives.

I am reminded of a story of people ignoring the warnings and the pleas of the authorities to evacuate as hurricane Camille swept through a portion of our state almost 36 years ago. It was 1969, in Pass Christian, Mississippi, a *+group of people was- preparing to have a “hurricane party” in the face of a storm named Camille. Were they ignorant of the dangers? Could they have been overconfident? Did they let their egos and pride influence their decision? We’ll never know.

What we do know is that the wind was howling outside the posh Richelieu Apartments when Police Chief Jerry Peralta pulled up sometime after dark. Facing the Beach less than 250 feet from the surf, the apartments were directly in the line of danger. A man with a drink in his hand came out to the second-floor balcony and waved. Peralta yelled up, “You all need to clear out of here as quickly as you can. The storm’s getting worse.” But as others joined the man on the balcony, they just laughed at Peralta’s order to leave. “This is my land,” one of them yelled back. “If you want me off, you’ll have to arrest me.”

Peralta didn’t arrest anyone, but he wasn’t able to persuade them to leave either. He wrote down the names of the next of kin of the twenty or so people who gathered there to party through the storm. They laughed as he took their names. They had been warned, but they had no intention of leaving.

It was 10:15 p.m. when the front wall of the storm came ashore. Scientists clocked Camille’s wind speed at more than 205 miles-per-hour, the strongest on record. Raindrops hit with the force of bullets, and waves off the Gulf Coast crested between twenty-two and twenty-eight feet high.

News reports later showed that the worst damage came at the little settlement of motels, go-go bars, and gambling houses known as Pass Christian, Mississippi, where some twenty people were killed at a hurricane party in the Richelieu Apartments. Nothing was left of that three-story structure but the foundation; the only survivor was a five-year-old boy found clinging to a mattress the following day.

Again I ask, Were they ignorant of the dangers? Could they have been overconfident? Did they let their egos and pride influence their decision? We’ll never know.

Christian Values Quarterly, Spring/Summer, 1994, p. 10

What about you? Will you heed the warnings that your pastor gives week after week? Will you follow the evacuation procedures that he has placed in your hands? Will you forsake your present securities to make your way to the safety of God’s strong arms? It is time for us all to realize that we must relinquish control over our lives to the one who created us and has all of creation at his fingertips.

Author’s Note:
When Gustav came ashore in Louisiana this past week the picture was totally different.  People subject themselves to the uncertainties of evacuating the coastal areas and found safety for themselves, their families, and their pets.  There was no loss of life because people heeded the evacuation procedures.



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