A third point is that disasters caused by both nature and humans are on the rise, including household accidents and chemical spills that affect entire neighborhoods. "No matter how prepared individuals or communities may be, some will always be too sick or ill-equipped to leave quickly," according to the Andersons.
A question asked by the authors is: "Would you be able to evacuate with your family, your pets and an emergency supply kit for each individual in five minutes?"
Before you answer this, let me tell you a couple of quick stories. 1.) I was designated "fire marshal" for my floor in a dormitory. We were advised that a surprise drill would take place at 2 a.m. The alarm sounded and I started making my room checks. Imagine my surprise when I opened one door to find the girls throwing all their belongings out the windows! They refused to leave until I finally told them it was a drill.
Story 2 concerns the burning box car in Danville. I had the radio on and heard the evacuation order. I had no trouble loading my two dogs, but the cat was under the bed. I quickly sealed the windows, the fireplace, closed the door and left - minus any emergency supplies. Even then, I doubt if I left in the required five minutes.
The book gives other people's experiences. One woman was awakened by the police pounding on her door at 3 a.m. How would you react? Suppose it was a member of the National Guard. Still think you could leave with your family, pets and emergency supplies in five minutes? That kind of response requires practice and lots of it.
Back in World War II the Dutch practiced hiding the Jews. Most had a hiding place and they practiced getting there from every room and at all hours of the day and night. The guests would take their belongings to the hiding place so the house would have no visible sign they lived there. These practices were timed.
That is what each of us should do. Practice from each room and at any time and maybe your cat will cooperate better than mine did.