February 21, 2017

Hwy 17 commuters show us that adding a chainsaw to your vehicle's emergency bag is a pretty good idea after all.

Are you prepared in the event of a local or regional emergency?  Well, these Santa Cruz, California area commuters were more than prepared, and willing and able get the job done.  A huge fir tree recently fell over Hwy 17, the main route between Santa Cruz and the San Jose area.

And what happened?  Did commuters and travelers simply wait for Caltrans to show up and clear the road?

Nope.  People got out of their vehicles, equipped with chainsaws, brooms, and good old muscle power, and cleared the tree and highway themselves.

Not that is what I'd call being prepared, ready, and willing.

Read the entire story and view more photos here.  For a quick peek, take a look at Santa Cruz resident Liza Miller's comments, and one of her photos, below.  Pretty amazing, huh?

Photo credit:  Liza Miller, published on eastbaytimes.com
"SANTA CRUZ — High winds knocked down an enormous fir tree near the summit of Highway 17 at approximately 3 p.m. Monday, blocking all four lanes and prompting a massive effort to clear the roadway by stranded travelers.Liza Miller was commuting home to Santa Cruz from work when traffic came to an abrupt stop.

“I was maybe the seventh car back. It took me a while to realize what I was looking at. There was this giant tree across all lanes and people were jumping out of their cars and running up there. I thought a car was trapped, but people had just begun instinctively clearing the highway,” she said."

Be prepared.  

Have emergency exit routes planned from your home in the event of fire.

Have water, food, medicines, and emergency supplies on hand
in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster.

Review your homeowners, business, renters, and other property insurance coverage
 to be certain you have adequate coverage.

And especially if you live in a wildfire or flood prone area,
have a to-go bag ready and be prepared to evacuate.

Stay safe, everyone! 

Mary Rae Fouts


  1. No vehicles got crushed by the tree, and nobody hurt? Amazing.

  2. Why didn't people just drive around the fallen tree? Looks dangerous to be out there cutting it up.

    1. No room to get around. Hwy 17 is heavily traveled with little shoulder area in many areas, and few "go around" roads. Either clear the tree, or wait for hours for Caltrans to show up and to it. The backup itself would have led to additional hours, if not the entire hwy closed for miles.


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