When Shall We Leave? Factors Affecting the Timing of Evacuation Departures

August 1991 (VOL. 9, NO. 2)

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Very little work has been conducted on the dynamics of human behavior in evacuations. This paper documents what is known about the timing of departures in different emergency events. This is followed by an effort to model individual variations in warning receipt and evacuation departures in the Nanticoke, PA hazardous materials fire. Among the factors which are significantly related to the time of warning receipt are the most of the first warning the proximity to the site of the emergency and the type of structure inhabited. The only significant variable related to mobilization time is the personalization of the warning. Perceived threat, age and family size were not related to mobilization time. The analysis points to the need for additional research to help understand the variability of human behavior in evacuations.