Ready or Not #238: Transportaion Shut-Down and Other Concerns

Last week there was a tragedy and a bit of a scare.  A man robbed a bank in southern Utah and of course the police pursued him.  When the police caught up with him, he committed suicide.  That was the tragedy.  It’s all about choices.

The scare part happened when the police approached the vehicle of the now dead bank robber.  It was reported by the news that there were three packages in the back seat that made the police apprehensive.  It was never reported as to how the packages were labeled and why they were so concerned, but it was reported that they were very concerned and that whatever “it” was, it could be deadly and could be transmitted by air.  What?  Not good.

I have tried to find out more about the scare: What was the product?  Why did he have it?  What did he intend to do with it?   And if it was as dangerous as they feared, how did he get it?  There were never any follow-up reports.  I checked.

Beyond the obvious implications and immediate problems, there were even more repercussions.   Because of the potential danger, the authorities shut down the main transportation of artery of the west, Interstate 15 (I-15).  I’m sure that was a wise decision, but the freeway was shut down for 24 hours.  24 hours?  All vehicles travelling both ways were at a standstill for 24 hours.

I-15 is THE major roadway system through the west and a very important commercial link throughout many states, including Utah.  It has been estimated that it would only take three days to completely empty the shelves of all the grocery stores if transportation were to be blocked to any one area.

Granted there are other roads that lead into the area and with a little foreknowledge and planning, this problematic area could be avoided by informed drivers.  I didn’t notice any obvious problems that resulted from the temporary shutdown, but if an earthquake happened and all of the roads in an area were compromised, the situation could be much more serious.  Get your food storage prepared.

My other concern was for the poor travelers that were stuck out on the road for 24 hours.  I have travelled through the area that was shut down and there is nothing there.  I mean nothing.  There are no restroom facilities, eating establishments or sleeping facilities.  At least they were in an area that wasn’t snowbound and the weather wasn’t too extreme, but that was the only silver lining.

If you were in the same situation, traveling in your vehicle as prepared as it is right now, would you be prepared to stick it out for 24 hours?  If you are thinking that for restroom facilities that you could use a local bush or tree, you would be wrong.  In that area, as I remember it, it is very much a desert area without much in the way of trees or bushes.  Even if there were a stray bush, do you have a roll of toilet paper with you or would you have to rely on old fast food napkins you found stuffed under the front seat?

I don’t know if the authorities in charge of the road shut-down had portable restroom facilities shipped in for those who were trapped, but I doubt it.  Again, I never heard any follow-up to the story.

How about food and water, but mostly water?  If my family was trapped on the road, we would have a bunch of medical issues that would need to be addressed.  What about the medical issues that happened unexpectedly?  Any heart attacks, panic attacks, babies that came early?  If the babies were already there, were there enough diapers and baby food or formula?

The drive between St. George, Utah and Mesquite, Nevada, the area that was shut down, is generally thought of as only a day trip for most people.  People go gambling for the day and come back at night.  It isn’t like everybody would be stocked up with travelling goodies – or water.

It really shouldn’t matter if you are just driving on a short errand to the next town or going on an extended road trip, you should always have your car prepared for any kind of an emergency.  That way if something does happen it won’t seem quite as dramatic as if it would be if you were unprepared.

I’m still wondering if we will ever hear what was in the back seat of the robber’s car and how those who were stuck on the road dealt with their problems that resulted from the shut-down.  I would like to know.

And remember – the outcome of any situation all depends on the choices we make now.



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