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#109855 - 10/24/07 07:05 PM SoCal - The Anti-Katrina
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2148
Loc: Bucks County PA
What a difference money makes.

The vast majority, dare I say ALL of the people evacuating from the fires have cars, money and insurance.

I spotted this tidbit in the news:

" SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- The wildfires in California have forced an exodus of estimated 950,000 people from their homes. But where have they all gone?

The American Red Cross reported Wednesday that only a small fraction of the nearly 1 million evacuees have been spending the past few nights at dozens of designated shelters stretching from San Diego County to Los Angeles County."

They are staying in Hotels and with friends.

I'm so sorry to disappoint all of those who expect the total collapse of society after a major disaster, however, once again, evidence is showing that people - even ill-equipped people - will try to help in the majority of bad situations. Katrina was a bad situation, but an exception caused, I think, by a presumption that virtually every can do what the people in California did - jump in the car and GO. I'm sure as this all winds down, we'll hear more about it, but this affirms my firm conviction that with a little leadership and a little planning, people pull together in a crisis.

#109859 - 10/24/07 07:12 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: MartinFocazio]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2184
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Cars, most likely. Money and insurance? Probably not all have the money to spare, and I doubt enough have insurance. If they did, why would the feds be declaring it a disaster and spending money on them?

One good thing about SoCal is the huge numbers of hotels and motels. Being tourist-country has some advantages apparently. Maybe some of the displaced went back to their country of origin?(yup, I went there!) Apparently the INS has been pulling agents off the border due to the danger of them being cut off from escape by fires.

On the good news front, some areas are allowing folks back home.

#109860 - 10/24/07 07:19 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: MartinFocazio]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas
May we please send our remaining +100,000 Katrina evacuees to SoCal?

-Blast in Houston
Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#109862 - 10/24/07 07:22 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: MartinFocazio]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
From what I've seen on TV, seems like a lot of people have been driving just far enough to be out of the immediate evacuation areas and then just hanging out in their cars rather than driving to a shelter or to homes of friends or family. I have no idea what proportion of evacuees are doing this, but you see plenty of them on the local news very close to the fire line. I suppose this is only possible because life still goes on fairly normally just outside the evacuation zones. You can eat in a restaurant, use the bathroom, buy groceries, etc. Very different from evacuating from a hurricane where everyone is going somewhere.

I was just watching some TV during my lunch break. I'm a bit surprised that all of the TV programming has reverted to normal programming already. CNN was the only channel I flipped through just now that was showing fire related news. The skies above me are filled with smoke and we're supposed to watch soaps and Divorce Court?

#109865 - 10/24/07 07:49 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: Arney]
MrDrysdale Offline

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 49
Loc: League City, Texas
Keep in mind the difference in the situation was the lack of planning on the part of the City of New Orleans. Officials instructed the people to go to the Superdome as a shelter. It was not equiped for the disaster. Once all those people were there it was too late.

Seems to me the folks in California had a pretty good plan in place. Thats a massive amount of people to move as fast as they did.

Over two years later and New Orleans is poised for another disaster.

Obviously none of us should expect any government to keep us safe in a disaster

#109867 - 10/24/07 07:55 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: MrDrysdale]
celler Offline

Registered: 12/25/03
Posts: 410
Loc: Jupiter, FL
Self-determination and willingness to help each other out seems also to have played a big part. I guess it also helped that thugs weren't shooting at the rescue workers from concealed sniper positions. Thank you California for showing the rest of us how its done. Prayers for the families that have suffered losses.


#109868 - 10/24/07 08:06 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: Arney]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I think a lot of people in CA actually learned a lesson from Katrina: you take care of it, or it isn't getting taken care of. There are a lot of people who actually WILL learn if you bash them in the face a few times. Also, arrangements have been made for pets in this disaster, far more than has ever been made elsewhere, IIRC. The DelMar racetrack and a shopping mall is accepting horses. Some shelters are accepting dogs and cats.

Also, doesn't declaring a Federal Disaster Area just provide low-interest LOANS for repair and reconstruction to the affected areas? I have never understood it to be just free money.

I've been out of the insurance buriness for quite a while, but here is my memory of how property insurance and losses work:

Your property can be insured for the A) initial cost of the house or manufactured home (MH); B) the current value of the home (Replacement Cost); or C) future replacement cost, the actual cost it would take to replace your house just like it was before the fire (etc).

Of course A is cheaper, but you're really going to be left holding a bag of ashes if you've got it.

B is probably most common, but you would probably find that the actual financial replacement of your house would end up being more than the insurance company says it's worth, or will pay.

C is the most expensive, and a lot of people can't afford it.

Think of property insurance like auto insurance: You get hit, your car is totaled, the ins. co. pays off the remainder of the loan to the bank, and you have to pay for a new car out of your own pocket, and the guy that hit you just gets a rate increase. You're insured, but you still lose.

How many of you actually KNOW what kind of coverage you've got, and exactly what it covers? Maybe you'd better READ your policy and see what you've got... and haven't. Call your agent for explanations.

Insurance is a contract and nothing else. The company will pay what they're forced to pay, and not a penny more. As a friend of mine says, "Insurance companies are in the premium-collecting business, NOT the claim-paying business".

A REMINDER: Any time you have any kind of a claim, and the adjuster says you aren't covered and you've read your policy and think you are (even if there might be a gray area), immediately contact your State Insurance Commissioner (SIC). [Do this before you call an attorney, as they're free and working for you.]

Call and tell the receptionist the very bare bones (no details, she doesn't care), but she will send out a form where you can put every single detail, date, conversation, name of person you spoke to, what they said, etc. (You DID take notes, right?)

The SIC will review your information, then ask the ins. co. what they have to say. The SIC is the Big Gun in your state's insurance. The companies either play nicely with them and the insureds, or they can get booted out of the state, which they absolutely DO NOT want. Insurance companies will sneer at attorneys, but fear the SIC.

If you were anywhere near being right, your insurance company will likely call or write you and be VERY sweet and polite, saying that obviously a mistake was made and they will fix it, and (as in my sister's medical case) all you have to pay is $22.61.

SIC first, attorney later.


#109874 - 10/24/07 08:37 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: Susan]
Blast Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3561
Loc: Spring, Texas

That was great advice. Great enough in fact to print out and include in my emergency binder.

Blogging the Borderlands
Wild Edibles Blog
I miss OBG.

#109879 - 10/24/07 09:18 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: Blast]
bsmith Offline
day hiker

Registered: 02/15/07
Posts: 584
Loc: ventura county, ca

Originally Posted By: Blast
May we please send our remaining +100,000 Katrina evacuees to SoCal?

sure, what's another 100,000 more! laugh

“Everyone should have a horse. It is a great way to store meat without refrigeration. Just don’t ever get on one.”
- ponder's dad

#109881 - 10/24/07 09:31 PM Re: SoCal - The Anti-Katrina [Re: Blast]
ducktapeguy Offline

Registered: 03/28/06
Posts: 358
Originally Posted By: Blast
May we please send our remaining +100,000 Katrina evacuees to SoCal?

-Blast in Houston

NO WAY! We're pretty full here, I'd actually like to send some of the transplanted Texans back to Texas! j/k Blast, you're always welcome here....to visit smile

To be honest, it's probably not a fair comparison between New Orleans and the California fires. The amount of destruction is probably an order of magnitude difference. While the media has been busy reporting the fires 24/7 for the last week and making it appear that all of Southern California is on fire, I think the current count is about 1100 homes destroyed. 1100 homes in Soutern California is probably equivilent to 1 housing tract. I haven't been following all of the news lately (a little burned out from the coverage, haha) but a lot of the homes affected are in wealthier areas. Since more affluent people like to live in the hills overlooking all us peons, and the wildfires normally occur in the mountains, it's probably not representative of most of California.

Money does play an important part in preparations. Short of a complete worldwide breakdown of society, you can pretty much buy your way out of any short term problem. That's probably why you dont' see the same problems that Katrina had. Even though I'd like to attribute it to Californians being smarter, or more prepared, it's probably just the fact that the fires aren't as big of a disaster as Katrina, plus many of the evacuees probably have more cash on hand than the trapped New Orleans residents. A family with a car and very generous bank account, and you won't see them in an evacuation shelter waiting for governement supplies, they're just gonna be at a hotel outside the fire area eating out everyday.

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