250093 Hurricane experience: A dubious force in the evacuation decision making process

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jacob Kopp , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
Jonathan J. Sury, MPH, CPH , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
Tasha Stehling-Ariza, MPH , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
David M. Abramson, PhD MPH , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
Potential evacuees are often faced with extreme uncertainty and are forced to weigh many factors when making a decision to evacuate before a hurricane. Intuitively, past experience with a catastrophic hurricane should influence one's evacuation behavior. However, prior research on how that previous experience affects evacuation planning and execution is contradictory and inconclusive. This study is based on a longitudinal cohort of Gulf Coast residents who had been greatly impacted or displaced by Hurricane Katrina a cohort who would presumably be more sensitive to evacuation orders. Within one month of Hurricane Gustav, respondents were asked about their evacuation behaviors and barriers, as well as their access to and use of transportation and sheltering alternatives. Overall, among participants living in areas under mandatory evacuation order during both hurricanes, 58.0% evacuated for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Gustav, 26.0% did not evacuate for Hurricane Katrina but did for Hurricane Gustav, 8.8% evacuated for Hurricane Katrina but did not evacuate for Hurricane Gustav and 7.2% did not evacuate for either hurricane. Of those who evacuated for Hurricane Gustav, over 50% of respondents stated that their personal experience with Hurricane Katrina was a reason for evacuating. This analysis explores the structural, attitudinal and behavioral characteristics of this previously affected population, and explores the reasons why they did or did not adhere to the mandatory evacuation orders during Hurricane Gustav.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors that influence the decision to evacuate.

Keywords: Disasters, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I have reviewed the project data, developed the concept behind the abstract, and conducted the appropriate literature review.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.