Sunday, October 19, 2008

In Case of Eruption -- RUN!

It started raining -- a very steady drizzle -- an hour before this weekend's football game. Bummer. That meant I had to keep the book dry, and could not wander the sidelines but had to sit in the stands. The good news? The stadium announcer (more about him another time) and his spotter were mostly accurate in announcing yardages and lines of scrimmage, so I had a good back-up if I couldn't judge the placement. The other good thing was that I got to sit with the coaches' wives, and didn't have to hear parents' criticisms.

Further good news was that I got material for a blog post.

I spoke with a staff member of an elementary school. A good part of her afternoon was spent conducting a lahar drill. In the event of a volcanic eruption of Mount Rainier, there's a good chance that tons and tons of mud and water and ash and mud will come streaming down the valleys around the mountain. Her school is in a valley, so at least twice a year they need to practice taking all the kids to higher ground. Quickly. Every one of them. If there's a lahar alert, the estimate is 30 minutes before that school building is history. Wow.

This situation is rather unusual, and perhaps where you live the students don't have these drills. A few weeks ago, a Red Cross trainer mentioned that Washington State has the potential for more types of disasters than any other state. Alrighty then. I'm quite pleased to live on a hill, where we don't have to run from lahars but only run from the people running from them.

As I was searching for photos of evacuation-route road signs, I found one that is hinged. That would seem to indicate that there's an "off season" for eruptions, when they can fold up the warning sign and let folks live their lives. Huh. If we ever have to move off this hill, I would consider living in that neighborhood.


Miss Kitty said...

OK, I just felt the wintergreen freshness of panic seep into my colon at the sight of that sign.

Katharine said...

Ooooohhh, what a terrific description!

And, sorry for causing your trauma. Remember, though, we go through whole years here without volcanoes throwing up their molten innards. Years!