Letter Re: Urban Evacuation–When The Plan is No Plan At All

Dear Jim:
I am writing in response to the recent posting entitled: Urban Evacuation–When The Plan is No Plan At All.

Several years ago when driving North out of Baltimore City, I noticed some blue and white signs which said:  “Emergency Evacuation Route”  They had a big blue arrow pointing North and nothing else.  The next time we were in the City I began looking for the signs.  I found them and began following them all the way.  They ran for miles out of the heart of the City and then just stopped … somewhere near the City line.  But, the one thing I notice for sure is that they were pointing directly toward my area.

So, I’ve looked up Baltimore’s Emergency Plan.

Here it is:  “Where do the evacuation signs posted in the City lead? The evacuation signs will lead you out of the city – They do not lead to bomb shelters.”  The web site is now almost 10 years old.  The link to Maryland Office of Domestic Preparedness is not working.  As far as I am able to tell, the “plan” is to send Baltimore’s residents out into the surrounding counties … and nothing else.  Now, there were approximately 621,000 people in Baltimore City for the 2010 Census.  There are only two counties that surround Baltimore City – Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County.  The Chesapeake Bay is to the east.

So, Baltimore City is planning to send a large portion of those gentle, refined city folk to my quiet neighborhood.  The funny thing is that people from this area are for the most part unaware of the signs – after all, for the most part, we avoid going into the City.  Should a significant disaster occur that warranted City evacuation, we in the suburbs would definitely be in trouble.  I was worried about two extra places at the table for Thanksgiving dinner.  Just where am I going to put that approximate 150,000 uninvited guests? – Grace