Back in my Firefighter days, there'd always be a huge crowd of onlookers at any fire.
I had to be there. I was paid to be there. I had special equipment and training to be there. The curious crowd always pushed the limit. They strained against the police barrier tape. They scooted past road blocks. They pressed in as close as they possibly could.
Sure, a big fire is interesting, but it's also dangerous. One fire in particular illustrates the stupidity of the crowd. I was running a pumper at a store fire that was incredibly smoky. I used four air tanks just running the pump. The fact that I was wearing an air pack should have been some sort of hint that it was dangerous to be in the smoke.
Nope. A number of onlookers had to be hospitalized for smoke inhalation.
During all my years as a Firefighter and all my retired years, I never went to a fire I didn't have to be at.
There's a lesson here, and it doesn't only apply to fires. If there's any sort of disaster, stay the heck away from it. I don't care if they are fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, riots or alien invasion. Be somewhere else. Watch in on the news the next day. Look at the pictures in the paper. At least the reporters are paid to be there and have careers on the line.
It's bad enough that in a long life you may get caught in the middle of trouble. If you can, get the heck out, or at least move to the edge of trouble.
Now the survivalist prepper types make a big deal about having a B.O.B -a bug out bag. They are darn useful to have. It's good to be able to have some basic gear when you have to leave in a hurry.
Unfortunately, what's not covered so much is knowing when it's time to bug out. Your B.O.B. does no good if you don't pick it up and bug out. One of the keys to a long healthy life is knowing when to get the heck out of Dodge.
There's a Chinese proverb that states: during a long life, a man must be prepared to abandon all his possessions at least twice. I think they are right. Stuff is just stuff. There's no physical possession worth dying for. When the invading army enters the city, it's better to leave with just the cloths on your back rather than stay and possibly get killed.
What really drives me nuts is the number of people who do not evacuate for hurricanes. Thanks to modern meteorology, there's plenty of warning. Most people, if they left at the first warnings, could evacuate on a bicycle. They could probably walk out of the worse danger zones in time.
Don't be one of those people who get caught. If you see a red glow in the sky, go somewhere else. If you see people running in the streets to some sort of confrontation, turn around and go the other way. Don't wait until the last minute to escape the flood or the hurricane. Never mind what other people are doing. Since when has a mob ever been right?
You might tell yourself that you just want to get a better idea what the danger is. You want to recon the situation. You want to get more information before making your decision. You want to be tough and macho.
Trust me, there are plenty of situations that if you are close enough to see what's going on, you are dead.
If you can get information from the radio, TV, emergency services scanner, fine. Don't put your self in physical danger if you don't have to. Don't be one of those idiots taking to the emergency room because they were curious.
Most important, don't let your curiosity put your family in danger. You've responsibilities to other people.