Presentation on theme: "Citizen Hurricane Evacuation Behavior in Southeastern Louisiana: A Twelve Parish Survey Released by The Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Taskforce July, 2005."— Presentation transcript:
Citizen Hurricane Evacuation Behavior in Southeastern Louisiana: A Twelve Parish Survey Released by The Southeast Louisiana Hurricane Taskforce July, 2005
The University of New Orleans Survey Research Center Dr. Susan E. Howell Dean E. Bonner Collaborators Dr. Shirley Laska, CHART (Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology) Dr. Ronald Hagelman, Department of Geography
Project Goals To describe citizen evacuation decision-making To identify key obstacles to evacuation To identify most important sources of information To estimate the effects of the Ivan evacuation To identify types of people most/least likely to evacuate To suggest implications for public education and future evacuations
How the Study Was Conducted Surveys customized to each of twelve parishes Recommendations about content from each parish emergency management official Officials decided whether to study entire parish or parts of the parish.
How the Study Was Conducted Four hundred interviews in each parish – 4800 total (Apr ’04- May’05) Ivan occurred in the middle of the study Eight and one-half parishes surveyed prior to Ivan Three and one-half parishes surveyed after Ivan
Perception of Risk Most residents of southeast Louisiana do not perceive a high level of risk in a Category 3 hurricane In nine of the twelve parishes, 60% or more feel safe in their homes if a Category 3 hurricane were to come nearby. However, most do not feel safe in a Category 4. Risk perception is the single best predictor of who will leave their home in a recommended evacuation.
Why Do People Feel Safe in a Category 3? Past experiences (or lack thereof) Longtime residence in south Louisiana Never having had hurricane damage Beliefs about their homes “My home is strong, sturdy, brick” etc. “My home is elevated, on high ground, not in a flood zone” An average of 40% of the residents of these parishes have lived in southern Louisiana > 30 years and have never had hurricane damage.
Income and Risk Perception In eight of the twelve parishes, high and middle income residents feel safer in a Category 3 than those with lower incomes. Not likely to live in trailers Have more “sturdy” houses Less likely to live in low lying areas.
Evacuation in a Hypothetical Situation 60% or more in all twelve parishes say they would evacuate if recommended by public officials. Inflated by social desirability Best viewed as a tendency An average of 34% across all parishes said they would “definitely” leave their home if recommended. Perception of risk in a Category 3 storm is the single best predictor of evacuation intentions in the hypothetical situation.
Actual Evacuation in Last Recommendation Percent evacuating after an official recommendation varies widely across these parishes Very difficult to generalize about how many will evacuate Depends on storm severity, direction, parish location, elevation, and risk perception.
Examples of Variation in Percent Evacuating Lili: 13% in southern St. Tammany 53% in Plaquemines Georges: 21% in St. James 46% in Jefferson Ivan: 17% in southern Tangipahoa 71% in St. Charles
North of Lake Ponchartrain Southern (below I-12) St. Tammany and southern Tangipahoa feel somewhat protected by geography. 65% in southern St. Tammany and 74% in southern Tangipahoa say they are safe in a Category 3 storm. This perception is the primary barrier to evacuation.
Citizens Focus on the Storm Category In all parishes citizens focus on the category of the storm and how much threat they think it means. This is a key determinant of evacuating or not. Lack of severity is also cited as a reason not to leave. Citizens need to know what category is dangerous for them.
Types of People Most/Least Likely to Evacuate In eight of the twelve parishes females are more likely than males to cooperate with an official recommendation. More likely to take responsibility for children and elderly Generally perceive same risk as males, but females are more cautious In no parish are males significantly more likely to evacuate.
Types of People Most/Least Likely to Evacuate (cont’.) In six of the twelve parishes, people who have lived in a home damaged by a hurricane are more likely to evacuate. An average of 42% of the residents of these six parishes have actually experienced damage. This lack of prior experience promotes resistance to evacuation. Southeast Louisiana is a victim of its own past good luck.
Types of People Most/Least Likely to Evacuate (cont’.) In six of the twelve parishes, people who have lived in southern Lousiana more than 30 years are less likely to evacuate. An average of 74% of the residents in these six parishes are long-term south LA residents. In no parish are long-term residents more likely to evacuate.
The Role of Income Income has no consistent relationship to leaving one’s home in a recommended evacuation. However, in six of the pre-Ivan parishes, lower income residents were more likely to either stay in their own parish or go to another evacuating parish. In Ivan, low income evacuees did go to safe places. Income is related to distance traveled in storms not perceived to be catastrophic.
The “Ivan Effect”? We observed no positive or negative Ivan effect on willingness to evacuate in the future. Evacuation in hypothetical situation is same in pre- and post-Ivan parishes. Risk perception is not consistently higher or lower in pre-Ivan parishes compared to post-Ivan parishes. Average of 86% of Ivan evacuees say they would do the same again. This is similar to Georges and Lili. Percent having a plan is the same post-Ivan as pre-Ivan. Those who spent most time on road in Ivan were no less willing to evacuate in the future.
The Role of Family and Friends People receive advice from friends and relatives. People evacuate due to concern for a friend or relative. One of these factors was mentioned, after the severity of the storm, as the reason for evacuating in three of the four post-Ivan parishes.
Evacuation Planning In nine of the twelve parishes 41 – 49% say they have a definite evacuation plan. Having a plan and actually evacuating mutually reinforce each other. Having a plan is partly a consequence of risk perception. So, we return to the importance of knowing one’s risk.
Sources of Information and Advice TV meteorologists are the most important source of information. In making an evacuation decision people rely on: Public officials Perceptions of their own risk Family and friends Past experiences