Article Index

A Psychological Analysis of the Evacuation Behavior at the Great Sakata Fire

Authors
Ryoichi Kazama, Kitao Abe
Issue
March 1985
Description
This research studied human behavior in the great Sakata Fire. The fire, fanned by a violent wind at the time, burned continuously in the center of the city for about 12 hours. Although it rained that night, the fire was massive and spread extensively.\r\nThe research focus was on: 1) the recognition of the fire: about what time was it noted, how the fire was reported, and what were the early forecasts about it; 2) the behavior of people seeking refuge: the period of preparation for refuge, the state of the fire at the time, what people thought of doing and how; 3) information: the means used to obtain information about the fire, and rumor behavior; and 4) social disorganization: whether or not there was panic and looting behavior, details about it, and reasons why it occurred. \r\nThe fire spread at a speed of about 100 m/h, which was rather slow in spite of the strong wind. This condition is considered as the reason for the relatively smooth evacuation of people, the lack of any great panic, and the few deaths and injuries.

A Referendum on the Future of Nuclear Power: The Case of Sweden

Authors
Orjan Hultaker
Issue
March 1984
Description
The history of nuclear development in Sweden is chronicled. The position of various political parties is noted. Although the accident at Three Mile Island was an important factor in the holding of a referendum of the future of nuclear power, the event did not appear to greatly alter long-standing attitudes about the issue. Results of the referendum are analyzed. Political party loyalties were major factors that determined votes on the referendum. However, other factors, such as gender and age, and occupational position, were also important determinants.

Are Local Emergency Planning Committees Effective in Developing Community Disaster Preparedness?

Authors
Michael K. Lindell
Issue
August 1994
Description
Five years after SARA Title III set a deadline for communities to establish community emergency plans for releases of toxic chemicals, it appears that many – if not most – jurisdictions have failed to fully comply with the requirements of this legislation. However, there are a number of LEPCs that have made significant progress and, in this regard, SARA Title III compliance is quite comparable to that of other federal hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness programs. Moreover, the planning process mandated by this legislation does provide some significant improvements over previous methods of emergency preparedness.

Are the News Media Responsible for the Disaster Myths? A Content Analysis of Emergency Response Imagery

Authors
James D. Goltz
Issue
November 1984
Description
Disaster research scholars and emergency planners have often contended that the news media play a major role in creating and perpetuating various myths of natural disaster response. These myths include widespread panic flight, psychological dependency and vicious competition for necessities on the part of victims and physical convergence for the purpose of looting by non-victims. The evidence which ties the news media to these myths of community breakdown is largely indirect. Survey data reveal a generalized belief among members of the public that the above enumerated behaviors are typical reactions of peopel faced with a sudden crisis. These data also indicate that the news media are the principal source of information about disasters for most people. Lacking are detailed analyses which document that extent to which the myths of community breakdown actually appear in news coverage o natural disaster events. The present study, which focuses on the reporting of four earthquake events by two Southern California newspapers, attempts to address this issue. The results, though preliminary, suggest that some caution is warranted in making the generalization that natural disaster coverage disproportionately conveys a breakdown imagery of communities facing a major natural catastrophe.

A Review Symposium

Authors
Dennis Wenger, Gary A. Kreps, Rutherford Platt, Ronald W. Perry
Issue
August 1984
Description
The Social Psychology of Civil Defense. By Ronald W. Perry. Lexington, Mass.: D.C. Heath, 1982. 127pp.

A Social Explanation of Urban Relocation after Earthquakes

Authors
Eve Passerini, Dennis S. Mileti
Issue
March 1996
Description
This paper synthesizes the research record regarding urban relocation after earthquakes. Three alternative relocation responses after earthquakes are identified, the range of factors that have been documented to influence them are presented, and identified human impacts of relocation after earthquakes are discussed. The conclusion is drawn that predisaster planning for rebuilding cities are earthquakes is central to enhancing risk reduction effectiveness

Aspects of Risk Communication in Two Cultures

Authors
Judith A. Golec
Issue
November 1992
Description
When people from two distinct cultures attempt to communicate, they often fail to share the fundamental foundation upon which to establish meaningful two-way communication (e.g., language and belief). Risk communication under such circumstances demands special attention; extra effort on the part of people from both cultures to understand and appreciate the risks from a comprehensive perspective that accommodates both sets of interests. This paper examines the communication about risk between the US Army and the native Polynesian cultures in the Pacific Ocean. Specifically, the article analyzes the written record of the proceedings to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 that led up to the shipment of the European Stockpile of unitary chemical weapons to Johnston Atoll that was completed November 1990.

Assessing the Usefulness of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Terrorism Advisory System

Authors
L. Erwin Atwood, Ann Marie Major
Issue
August 2004
Description
This study reports the results of a national survey of 1,023 U.S. adults and their evaluations of the usefulness of the color-coded U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Advisory System. The study explores the relationships among information sources, risk perception, demographics, and preparedness behaviors within the context of the social amplification of risk. Half of the respondents (48.8%) rated the advisory system as useful and half (47.0%) rated it as not useful; however, far fewer respondents reporting having made any preparations for a future attack. Strong support was found for the social amplification of risk model with 87.1 percent of the respondents reporting that terrorism was an important problem and two thirds of those respondents reporting that news reports had influenced how important they believed the problem was. The findings also underscore that information sources were not of consequence for all respondents, and that it was the perceived utility of the advisory system, not risk perception, that impacted whether or not respondents made preparations.

Assumptions and Processes for the Development of No-Notice Evacuation Scenarios for Transportation Simulations

Authors
Pamela Murray-Tuite and Brian Wolshon
Issue
March 2013
Description
Emergency management agencies and departments of transportation benefit from transportation simulation support when developing their emergency response or evacuation plans. No-notice events are increasingly becoming part of these plans. Few, if any, studies have shown how to operationalize general no-notice evacuation considerations. To fill this gap, this article describes essential features and reasonable assumptions that should be considered in the development of no-notice evacuation scenarios for use in conjunction with transportation simulation models. Although the information presented here centers on a specific location and disaster, the concepts may be generalized and adapted for use in other locations and hazards and are of value to both practitioners as well as researchers seeking to develop similar models.

A Study of Mass Media Reporting in Emergencies

Authors
Shunji Mikami, Kakuko Miyata, Osamu Hiroi
Issue
March 1985
Description
This paper examines the operations of mass media in disasters, the content of messages in disaster reporting, and the distortion in reporting warnings and disasters, based on empirical studies in several communities in Japan.\r\nIn the writing stage, we found that the broadcast media are the primary source of information in most cases. However, the warnings often did not reach a complete range of audience, nor could it induce an adaptive response among these recipients.\r\nAs for the mass media operation during and after the disasters, we found that the difficulties in mobilizing resources, uncertainties in reliable news sources, and malfunctioning communication channels were the main obstacles in reporting damages.\r\nThe main characteristics of the content of mass media reporting in disasters are described. Six types of information are found in the disaster reporting of the broadcast media: Information on (1) advice or directions, (2) disaster agent, (3) safety message, (4) damage, (5) countermeasures, and (6) restoration. The results of the content analysis of the broadcast of two stations on the day of the Nihonkai-Chuubu Earthquake shows that personal messages and damages information were the most heavily broadcast. This did not always match the information needs of the residents.\r\nThe media in Japan tend to exaggerate damages in disasters, leading to the distorted perception of hazards. They also tend not to report sufficiently the news people want to get. The reasons for these inaccurate reportings are: (1) journalist\\'s attitude to news editing and reporting, and (2) distorted images or myths among journalists. The content of newspaper reporting of a false warning was analyzed as a case study.