Why Florida Civilians Refuse to Follow Hurricane Dorian Evacuation Protocol

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Hurricane Dorian is a category five hurricane that formed over the Central Atlantic as merely a tropical wave on August 24th, 2019. The storm became a hurricane on August 28th as it reached north of the Greater Antilles. Dorian reached its peak of one hundred and eighty-five miles per hour and was declared a category five hurricane on the 1st of September. It made its way through Elbow Cay to the Grand Bahamas and remained there for the next few days causing catastrophic damages due to the intensity of the storm and resulting in possibly 1,000 casualties and 1,300 missing civilians.

Hurricane Dorian had debilitated over time but unfortunately began heading northwest towards the United States. Many of the Florida and North Carolina counties issued mandatory evacuation protocols for civilians living near the coast. The hurricane headed northeast and North Carolina experienced a category one hurricane on September 6th. On September 10th Hurricane Dorian had finally ceased in Greenland only after striking Nova Scotia.

The article, “Some Floridians refuse to evacuate but worry about Hurricane Dorian’s unclear trajectory” (2019) was posted by NBC News on August 31st to update viewers on the course of Hurricane Dorian. However, this article focused on an old retired couple that lives together in Magnolia Beach. Don and Carol Killingsworths, both seventy years old, were refusing to follow the evacuation protocol that was issued on several counties in Florida. Nine counties were issued with mandatory evacuation and another seven counties were issued with voluntary evacuation due to the fact that the trajectory of Dorian could not be predicted. The couple talks about how they had once before experienced an evacuation protocol and it was the reason the couple had moved to Florida back in 2007. It was because of this experience that the Killingsworths had decided that they would only evacuate if it was proven that Hurricane Dorian was heading towards their beachside home, despite being begged by their daughter who lives in Orlando to evacuate. About an hour after their statement Brevard County, where the Killingsworths live, was issued with mandatory evacuation. The elderly couple was still persistent on remaining in their home. Wife, Carol Killingsworths had essentially told the interviewer that if Hurricane Dorian were to take away their home that they would go alongside it.

In critical thinking, it is best to avoid using any bias such as personal opinions or experiences to come to a conclusion. The conclusion should be based on accurate evidence to support it. In the context of the interview with Don and Carol Killingsworths, they are choosing to ignore current evidence that Hurricane Dorian is a dangerous fast-moving tropical cyclone that has destroyed the homes of thousands of families, resulting in about 1,300 civilians to go missing, and acquired about 7.5 billion dollars worth of damages. The trajectory of Hurricane Dorian was not able to be accurately determined due to its different peaks of intensity and the Killingsworths used this to justify their decision to stay behind. There is clear evidence in all the harm it can do, therefore, it would have been a more logical decision to follow the evacuation protocol. At the time Brevard County was not issued a mandatory evacuation, but the couple should have prepared for it to be a possibility very soon.

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However, there is the possibility that the elderly couple is not, in fact, ignoring the magnitude of the current situation but is not as scared as other civilians because this is a tragedy that they have experienced before. The Killingsworths know what it’s like to lose everything and being forced to start over and find a new home. Due to their old age and previous experience, the Killingsworths have probably mentally prepared themselves to be one of the thousands of homes that will be destroyed by Hurricane Dorian. The couple has lived a long life together and possibly don’t want to endure starting over once more.

When the article had surfaced many people via social media platforms such as Twitter, were very upset with the Killingsworths decision to enjoy cocktails on their porch rather than evacuate with the others. The couple was offered shelter by many of their friends who lived in Nashville, Tennessee and still refused to evacuate. Twitter users were upset that the couple seemed to have no disregard for the hundreds of law enforcement officers who risk their lives to rescue civilians and provide transportation to shelters. Others were upset with the fact that the couple was offered assistance during this devastating time and refused to take it, considering many other families struggle to find others willing to help.

In the article, “Why do some people refuse to evacuate during a hurricane? For the same reasons people don’t listen to warnings they should save money” (2019) published by Michelle Singletary of the Washington Post, she intends to show others why blaming the victims of hurricane destruction is never the answer. Singletary shines a light on the perspective of the victims and discusses the many reasons civilians refuse to follow evacuation protocol. Singletary explains that in times of devastation many families do not have the financial stability to help themselves and references the many residents that were criticized for refusing to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina.

Unfortunately, these families didn’t have the resources to find shelter and had no means of transportation to even get out. Many of these civilians accepted the fact that they would not be able to find the means in time to evacuate, so they have no choice but to stay behind and hope that they can handle the situation themselves. In a poll done on those who refused to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina, some civilians reported that they believed they could handle the situation. Fifty-seven percent of this group of civilians admitted that they had misjudged the severity of the storm. Singletary compares the state of hurricane victims to those who live their lives paycheck to paycheck, those who cannot afford their children’s college tuition, and even those who cannot afford to start investing in a retirement fund. In Singletary’s eyes, a civilian’s inability or “refusal” to evacuate during a hurricane is due to the fact that they do not have the means to, just as many of us lack the means to plan for our futures and pay a young student’s tuition.

With the fact that Hurricane Dorian is the worst natural disaster to strike the Bahamas and how hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes and loved ones, it is evident that Michelle Singletary’s perspective seems very illogical. It does not seem right or logical to compare a natural disaster; something that no one has any control over, to common misfortunes that every day people experience and play a huge roll in themselves. Unfortunately, there are limited resources to those who survive natural disasters, however, there are hundreds of resources offered to help those who are in financial trouble.

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