As the tragedy unfolds in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, I ask you to pray for some miracles. There is tremendous loss of life and horrific property damage. We could use a miracle here.
As usual, we can use the event to learn. This event really highlighted why you need to do an area study RIGHT NOW to develop your emergency plans.
Looking at the photo above, I can tell you why there was so much loss of life. The map shows only 3 high speed routes out of Lahaina. An area study would expose this risk and cause you to seek out alternate routes out. What if the fire was to the south and thus blocking 2 of the 3 exits? Traffic would be at a standstill on the northern route due to traffic.
This is a tough situation all the way around. To the east, you have rough mountains. To the west is the vast Pacific Ocean. To the north and south you have roads through rugged terrain. A serious study would show that your routes out need to be on secondary roads through rough country to avoid the traffic snarls.
In his excellent book, The Area Intelligence Handbook, Mike Shelby talks about listing your risks on a matrix. Let’s be honest, using Mike’s matrix the combination of a High Impact/Low Probability event is the very definition of what happened here, a wildfire just as a Hurricane (Dora) approached. While it’s unlikely, it is indeed a threat that you would have put in your study and since it was High Impact, you’d need a plan to deal with it.
Hundreds of people were forced to flee into the water as the 86 mile an hour wind carried the firestorm through the town in minutes. This brings us to a point I make in my soon-to-be-released TW-05 First Aid Handbook: You cannot consider yourself preparedness-minded if you cannot swim and swim well. You need to spend time developing and refreshing your swimming skills. I don’t understand how guys will go to the range every single weekend, but don’t know how to swim. They’ll practice room clearing, but not first aid.
Be honest, the vast majority of people have never, nor will they ever, got into a gunfight. But literally everyone has fallen down and hurt themselves and nearly everyone has fallen into or had to cross a body of water. Practice what you will really need.
Before and After