MIND THE LINE, IT MIGHT SAVE YOUR LIFE
Blue lines on roads in Island Bay mark the furthest point that a worst-case tsunami has been calculated to reach.
Since the lines were painted in February, after consultation with GNS Science, almost every coastal suburb has expressed an interest in having them.
“If there was a big earthquake in Wellington, and you live on the coast and have seen that line on the street, then hopefully you grab your wife and kids and go to behind where that line is,” Wellington emergency management office senior adviser Dan Neely said.
You grab your wife and your kids…
So many possible meanings there. Maybe it’s because only men are capable of taking action, or because men are the ones who take responsibility for action, or because when it comes to disaster planning, we plan for men. Also, you will note that we only plan for nuclear families, and families that have a husband and a wife at that.
It’s such a small thing, but it’s revealing. It shows which people are regarded as being the norm, the average, the ones from whom all others are different.
And it’s so easy to fix. All he needed to say was, “… then hopefully you grab the people around you and go to behind where that line is.”
Maybe that’s what he meant to say. I’m sure he is concerned for the safety of everyone in Wellington. It would just be nice if that thought got out into public discourse too, instead of using language that reinforces notions of men as normative, and women as others who need to be cared for.