Project Management and Evacuation in Natural Disasters Essay
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In the case of Hurricane Andrew a behavioral analysis was conducted following the hurricane. According to assessment of Hurricane Andrew for Broward and Dade Counties,
"The percentage of residents who evacuated (i.e., left their homes to go someplace they believed would be safer) in Andrew varied by proximity to the shoreline. In Broward county 69% left from the Category 1-2 surge zone, and in Dade 71% left from the Category 1 area. In the Broward Category 3 and Dade Category 2-3 zones 63% evacuated, and in Category 4-5 zones 46% left from Broward and 33% left from Dade. In both counties 13% evacuated from inland areas beyond the Category 4-5 surge limits. Had Andrew's track been slightly farther north, a significant number of homes that were not evacuated would have been flooded ("Hurricane Andrew Assessment-Florida." )"
With these things understood concerning the behavior of people who were asked to evacuate the area the people who lived the closest to the shore were more likely to leave their homes. As a result of their behavior it can be concluded that people who live close to shore understand the vulnerable position they are in and are therefore willing to leave when the dangers associated with a hurricane are present. This also means that when future events occur these individuals will be likely to evacuate without much resistance.
Although the behavioral analysis for Miami after Hurricane Andrew showed that many people evacuated when they were asked to do so, there was still a significant number of people who stayed behind. When reviewing behavioral analysis to determine how people will respond to evacuation decrees in the future, it will be important to investigate the reasons why so many people stay behind even though they have been warned that there is an imminent danger. For instance, were the people who remained poor and without the ability to travel or rent a hotel room. Were the individuals who stayed elderly or infirmed? Were they pet owners that did not want to leave their animals behind. Once the reasons why some people remained in evacuated areas is fully understood managers can make a more concerted effort to address the aforementioned issues. This might mean that certain services may need to be offered such as free transportation and guaranteed shelter. In addition, there must be services available that are present to assist the elderly or those that are suffering from illnesses. Additionally, people with pets should be assured that their pets will be taken care of if they evacuate.
Understanding behavior is also essential because it assist in determining how much emergency personnel may need to remain in any given city or region. Emergency responders are often called upon to assist people who have not evacuated. Once evacuation behaviors are understood evacuation managers can ensure that the amount of emergency responders that are left behind is consistent with the need for such responders. The aim of this is to reduce the likelihood that emergency responders will be injured or killed because they had to remain in a dangerous situation because of people who would not evacuate.
Overall, understanding behavior and applying this understanding to evacuation planning is essential to the development of an evacuation plan that will increase the number of people that leave dangerous areas ahead of the hurricane. In so doing, the amount of lives lost is greatly reduced. In addition applying the understanding of behavior will prove effective in assisting future evacuation plans.
Like other aspects of evacuation planning, transportation requires a great deal of forethought. There are various issues that have to be considered as it pertains to transportation and evacuation. One of the primary issues is the ability to get evacuees and their vehicles from the evacuated area to a safe area in a timely manner. According to the report entitled "Hurricane Andrew Assessment-Florida"
"Information from the vulnerability, shelter, and behavioral analyses are directly input as well as various sources of permanent and seasonal population data. For the lower southeast Florida studies, regional and county clearance times were developed for two or three storm intensity groups (eg. Category 1-2, Category 3-5), several seasonal occupancy assumptions, and three rates of mobilization on the part of the evacuating population. The number of scenarios for a particular county was obviously dependent upon the inland extent
of flooding and population characteristics of that locality ("Hurricane Andrew Assessment-Florida")."
The transportation analysis involves a collaborative review of all other analysis. The other analysis provide important information related to how many people have evacuated what direction they will likely go as determined by where the shelters are located and the types of dangers that might be present as people attempt to evacuate. With all these things understood evacuation managers have the information needed to ensure safe transport.
To determine current or future transportation issues related to hurricane evacuation, managers must evaluate past events first. When applying transportation analysis to past hurricane evacuation plan the following factors must be taken into consideration
1. Was the evacuation roadway network accurate and did evacuees use projected routes? Project managers always attempt to ensure that the evacuation routes chosen are accurate and easy for motorist to understand. As such in the process of reviewing past evaluations it is important to evaluate whether or not the evacuation routes established were accurate. If the route were accurate
Were any traffic control actions taken to speed up flow? This question involves different types of control actions. For instance, in some cases it may have been necessary to get police officers to direct traffic. In other instances it might be necessary to reverse traffic flow on the interstate to reduce traffic and ensure that people are moving away from as oppose to into the evacuated area. Evaluating such issues can lead to the development of an evacuation plan that is better suited to handle the amount of traffic produced by the need for evacuation. Traffic control is also important because evacuation can be a stressful time for evacuees. If evacuees feel as though they will not be able to leave the area they may begin to panic; when people panic the make poor decisions. As such traffic control becomes an important issue that must be carefully examined in the midst of the evacuation plan.
When was the evacuation essentially completed - how long did the evacuation take? The amount of time that an evacuation takes is one of the most important questions. The question is dependent on the number of people to be evacuated and the amount of time evacuation was complete before the hurricane made landfall. This information is critical because planners need to know how far in advance the call for an evacuation needs to take place in order for the evacuees to get out of the area in time. Having access to past information on the length of time it took to complete the evacuation gives planners the ability to properly determine the amount of time that will be needed to carryout evacuations in the future.
Were any major problems encountered in this evacuation? Obviously learning from past mistakes is a Other applications associated with transportation involve making sure that gas is available at various locations along the evacuation route. This is particularly essential because people evacuating often have to sit in traffic for hours and as such they run out of gas. This leads to cars being stalled and even greater traffic wait times. In addition, hurricanes usually occur at times of the year that are extremely hot. A vehicle running out of gas can result in people becoming impaired by the heat which can lead to accidents. As such evacuation plans must consider the need for gas and provide a way for people to get to the gas when necessary.
Once people have evacuated any given area it is essential that shelters are available for people to stay in during and after the storm. Granted, some people will rent hotel rooms or stay with relatives or friends, but many others will require shelter provided by state and local agencies. As such, certain factors must be taken into consideration including a shelter analysis. Shelter analysis is necessary because it "list public shelter locations, assess their vulnerability relative to storm surge flooding, and to estimate the number of people who would seek local public shelter for a particular hurricane intensity or threat."
The purpose of listing the shelters is so that the public can be provided with the information needed to ensure that the public has the correct information so that they can get to shelters safely. Shelters must also be evaluated as it pertains to their vulnerability. In some cases shelters may be located in places that could receive damage as a result…
Sources Used in Documents:
Catastrophic Hurricane Evacuation Plan Evaluation: A Report to Congress. Retrieved April 30, 2010 from; http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/reports/hurricanevacuation/rtc_chep_eval.pdf
Hurricane Andrew. Retrieved April 30, 2010 from; http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/1992andrew.html
Hurricane Andrew Assessment. Retrieved April 30, 2010 from; http://www.csc.noaa.gov/hes/docs/postStorm/H_ANDREW_ASSESSMENT_REVIEW_HES_UTILIZATION_INFO_DISSEMINATION.pdf
Wolshon, B., Urbina, E., Levitan, M., and Wilmot, C. (2005A) Review of Policies and Practices for Hurricane Evacuation. I: Transportation Planning, Preparedness, and Response. Natural hazards review. 6 (3),
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