A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch about the evacuation of some local townspeople due to a gas leak at a hydro-fracking well located in Monroe County, Ohio about 160 miles outside Columbus can serve as a stern reminder that although hydro-fracking can provide some much needed jobs and energy to the Ohio area, there are some inherent dangers and problems associated with it. These can include:
- Potential Gas Leaks from the Fracking Site
- Potential for soil and groundwater contamination with known carcinogens
- Noise pollution
- Potential for dangerous explosions and on site accidents.
The potential for an emergency situation arising, one where you have to leave your home, just like those twenty-five families had to do is not outside the realm of possibility. No one likes the idea of leaving your home or business, but sometimes for safety reasons it becomes necessary. The best thing you can do, as a person, and as a business owner is to be prepared for that possibility and plan accordingly. Here are a few tips to help.
Tip # 1: Have an Emergency Evacuation Kit
Often also called a “bug-out” bag, an emergency evacuation kit is a bag- normally a backpack that contains things such as water, canned food, extra medicine, clothing, shelter such as a tent, and first aid supplies. It is everything you need to survive in case you had to leave the safety of your home for a few days. Take the time to make one for each person of your family, and be sure to include at least one copy of important papers for your family- i.e. birth certificates, allergy records, and other important medical documents. Be sure to include your pets as well! If you own a local business be sure to take your important records, including your inventory records in case there is any loss of property during the time that you were away.
Tip # 2: Have and Use a Battery Powered Radio
Remember, in an emergency, there is a strong possibility that electric power will not be available, so it is imperative to have a battery powered emergency radio in your possession to listen for instructions from those handling the evacuation. These can include which evacuation routes to take, what areas are being evacuated, where the emergency shelters are, and what items are allowed in.
Tip #3: Have an Alternative Place to Go
We all know how efficient the government can be. Therefore, it is a good idea to have an alternative place to stay in case of an evacuation. In addition to often being overcrowded, shelters don’t often allow for pets, only making the exception for service animals. So spend some time prior to the evacuation talking with your friends and family to find a place to stay for a few days while things in the area of your home get back to normal.
Tip #4: Keep Your Fuel Tank at Least 1/2 Full If Possible.
Sometimes in an emergency evacuation, local gas stations will not be able to provided fuel. Please plan accordingly.
Tip #5: Stay Calm and Allow the First Responders to Do Their Job
You’re in a tense situation, believe me I understand. You’ve just been asked to leave your house for an indefinite amount of time, and no one seems to be able to answer your questions to your satisfaction. It can be frustrating, and let’s face it, a bit scary. While it may be tempting to approach the first responders handling the evacuation and demand answers, please remember that these people have to be focused on keeping everyone safe, treating injuries, and dealing with the overall emergency situation. By all means, ask questions, but please be prepared to accept the answers without argument, or accept that the answers may not be provided at the time of evacuation. Also, be sure to answer questions the first responders ask in a truthful manner.
Dealing with an emergency evacuation due to a hydro-fracking incident can be a scary thing for you and your family. By staying calm, and planning ahead, you can do a lot to make the whole process a lot easier to handle.
Editors Note: This blog post mistakenly identified the location of the fracking well as being within the vicinity of Columbus, Ohio when first published. The mistake has been corrected- Marietta and Beyond.