Archived: Editorial: For Safety’s Sake — Get Out of the Way


Like it or not, there are times when people should be forced to do what’s right because to do otherwise would needlessly endanger others.

An example of this is the refusal of some people living in areas ravaged by the Station fire — who may now be in danger from rain caused mudslides and avalanches — to obey mandatory evacuation orders issued by city and county public safety officials.

Yesterday afternoon, in the midst of torrential downpours, some residents were stubbornly and foolishly refusing to heed repeated warnings to leave their homes, choosing instead to stay put: possibly putting their lives and the lives of firefighters and police personnel who might be forced to go in and try to rescue them in danger.

Over and over again, radio broadcasts reported people saying they would stay home until “it got to dangerous.” By then, the damage may have been done.

Perhaps it is time, cold-hearted though it may seem, to tell residents that should they decide to ignore evacuation orders, they will be on their own if efforts to rescue them will put others, including emergency personnel, in danger, and mean it. There comes a time when mandatory should mean mandatory, and not just if you want to.

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