I recently had to evacuate a high-rise condominium that had a fire in one of the units on an upper floor. While the evacuation was orderly and relatively-straightforward, the climb down fifteen flights of stairs was not easy for some. This was especially true for a few ladies that were wearing high-heels and a couple of guys who were wearing flip-flops. This got me thinking about how important comfortable shoes are during an emergency, and why we should always have a pair nearby to put on in a moment’s notice.
What are Comfortable Shoes?
Comfortable shoes mean different things for different people, but the principle is the same. You want something that you can wear in order to get through various situations without placing too much strain on your feet. They should also be good for traction, speed and longevity. However, you really don’t need to over-think what the best shoes are since there are so many choices out there to consider. The point is that you want a pair that will get the job done. You can use athletic, casual or even dress shoes as long as you won’t get tired or hurt yourself as you are dealing with an unexpected emergency or evacuation.
Prevention is Key
Keep in mind that the main reason that log jams and trampling occur in emergencies is because people in the pack stumble and fall, or don’t move fast enough. Then, those behind them start bunching up and are either forced to move around the person causing the backup, or in a worst case scenario, they get trampled during the mad rush to safety.
Believe it or not, many of these problems are caused by someone wearing the wrong kind of shoes. You can significantly reduce your chances of getting injured or stumbling your way through an evacuation that can pose a hazard to those behind you simply by wearing appropriate footwear.
Twisted Ankles, falls or being trampled are all injuries that commonly occur when people lose their balance during an emergency evacuation. Then there are always secondary injuries to consider that can range from scrapes and cuts to broken and arms, wrists, dislocated shoulders or head injuries. Keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground during these times is the best way to avoid missteps that can lead to serious consequences.
The evacuations that followed 9/11 or the recent attacks in Belgium show how quickly things can go from normal to nightmarish. How many people do you think were prepared to walk long distances due to the fact that transportation systems ground to a halt? Consider how painful it was for many of them who were wearing the wrong kinds of shoes. Look at pictures and videos of people walking barefoot or in socks over debris-laden sidewalks and streets as they tried to leave the area.
Remember the movie Die Hard when Bruce Willis was stuck trying to fight terrorists without shoes and they shot glass as a way to force him to cut his feet? Consider how thousands of people ran the same risk due to the fact that they didn’t have appropriate footwear.
Make sure that you are always wearing or have access to a comfortable pair of shoes that will be applicable to an evacuation scenario that you may face one day. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, because you never know when you will have to immediately leave where you are with no warning. With all of the dangers that you may face during that emergency, the last thing you need is to be at a disadvantage from wearing the wrong footwear.