On Thursday I snuck away from work to go see Man of Steel. I've always been one of those people who really wants to be into superheroes but as never had enough time to dedicate to it. I do know enough to know that the source of most superhero's grievances are related to the torrid death of a
parent. Man of Steel stays true to this theme depicting an emotionally dramatic and heart-pounding scene in which a tornado forms amongst a group of stopped cars on a highway in Kansas. The tornado claims the life of Clark Kent's father. The scene depicts Superman's father running back to the family's car to retrieve their German Shepard at the bequest of his mother. (Don't worry, the dog survived). Running back to the car you ask? Why was he out of his car? Because, at the suggestion of a fellow driver he and his family had run to seek cover under an overpass.
[Even Henry Cavill's shirtless self
couldn't pull me out of my snit.]
Obviously as someone in the field of emergency management this sent me into a mini hissy fit that forbade me from enjoying the rest of the movie.
If you ever find yourself in a car traveling down a road that has both an overpass and a tornado DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, get out of your car and seek shelter under an overpass.
"Destructive winds produce airborne debris that are blown into and channeled under the overpass where people might try to seek shelter. Debris of varying size and types, including dirt, sand and rocks, moving at incredible speeds can easily penetrate clothing and skin causing serious injuries and possibly death."
"The safest course of action when a tornado approaches is to get out of the tornado's path, or to seek shelter in a sturdy, well-constructed building. Lying flat in a ditch, ravine, or below grade culvert also offers protection from flying tornadic debris."
Of course this whole situation has gotten me all riled up about the depiction of disaster related issues in mainstream Hollywood films. Example: the movie Earthquake circa 1974… shooting people for looting... stop it.
Besides this being a great marketing campaign for the next community in Kansas that needs an update on their early warning system it's also a prelude to a larger issue with Hollywood movies. The general public goes to see these movies and it perpetuates these disaster myths. While hiding under the overpass may have made for a better movie scene if would have been a really great learning opportunity. The challenge for Hollywood directors needs to be finding a balance between dramatic oscar-award winning scenes and providing information that won't kill people.