Tuesday 21 April 2015

Disaster, Death, Mayhem, Chaos, and Yoghurt

Disaster, Death, Mayhem, Chaos, and Yoghurt

There are many reasons why I lie awake night after night tense, vaguely afraid, pinned to the mattress by the heavy sense of impending doom. In my head, where there should be images of quiet rural scenes; palm fringed beaches with aqua wavelets gently lapping the shore; a picnic rug, a hamper of delicious morsels, and Johnny Depp;  there is a frantic motorway interchange of speeding thoughts recklessing tearing across the lanes, overtaking, screeching, nearly crashing, over and over again. They keep coming, relentlessly, and faster, and louder until I could stand up and scream (except for the being pinned down bit – and by doom that is, not Johnny Depp).

“WHAT CAN I DO? WHAT CAN I DO?” I would scream. “I’ve written them guides, I’ve reminded them in advisories, I’ve put it on Facebook, but I still don’t think every school that needs one has developed a Tsunami Evacuation plan!”

“What are they thinking? Don’t they realise that it will be too late once the klaxons are klaxing? All they need to do is look at the civil defence website and check out the evacuation areas. They can work with our guidelines and their local civil defence to create a plan. Just something that outlines where they will go and how. They just need to try it out and let the school community know about it so that parents won’t try to get to the school but to the assembly point or other designated place.  IT’S NOT HARD!”

“And what about lockdown? Surely they’ve all sorted their reverse evacuation plans? NO! NO! I DON’T THINK THEY HAVE! Don’t they care? What if there’s a tiger on the loose? What if there’s a guy with a gun? What if there’s a huge accident on the intersection outside school? What if there’s toxic dust swirling in the air from an overturned toxic dust tanker? What if a bunch of chimpanzees escape from the local zoo? What if a troupe of naked exotic dancers storms the playground? What if a dense cloud of mosquitoes big enough to block the sun is heading towards  the playground? What if there’s civil unrest and public violence? What if there’s an explosion near the front gate? ARE THEY SORTED? DO THEY KNOW HOW TO ALERT THE STUDENTS AND STAFF AND GET THEM INSIDE? DO THEY KNOW IF THEY CAN LEAVE THE SCHOOL SAFELY THROUGH THE BACK GATE? DO THEY KNOW HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER, THE POLICE, THE PARENTS?”

Then I feel sick. My head spins. I groan. No, really, I DO actually feel a bit sick. Just how far past the use by date can you eat yoghurt without it churning in your innards, running around, bubbling nastily and forcing its way out the nearest exit?

Sigh. Calm down. Happy place, happy place. Really schools have to take responsibility for their own emergency procedures – you can only do so much. Remind them again. Point them to the guidelines on the Demo site. Breath. Just breathe, get back to the palm fringed beach, the white sand, the rug, the picnic hamper - No, No Johnny! Put the spoon down! LOOK AT THE DATE! LOOK AT THE DATE! Hey, Johnny, the tide seems to have gone out a really long way – look! Why is the horizon coming towards us?

Help Megan sleep. Check out the guidelines on the Demo site for reverse evacuation and/or tsunami evacuation. Add reassuring comments here about your preparedness and/or experience with shortdated yoghurt.