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#282386 - 10/08/16 07:12 AM Why do people refuse evac orders?
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1272

Underestimating Storm’s Severity Leads Some to Ignore Evacuation Notices, Wall Street Journal, 10/7/2016

In case you don't have a subscription, this paragraph is all you need to know:

Quote:
Fear of leaving pets behind or of sitting in clogged highways aren’t the reasons most people ignore evacuation orders during a hurricane. They simply underestimate the storm’s severity, researchers say.

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#282388 - 10/08/16 07:23 AM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: Bingley]
Phaedrus Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 1982
Loc: Great Plains
Yeah, I suppose 'normalcy bias' gets a lot of people. I imagine most adults down there have seen hurricanes before and maybe even rode them out. But climate change is making the bad storms worse, stronger and stronger as ocean temps rise. Hundred year storms will be appearing every three or four seasons. By the time folks realize just how bad it really is it's too late to evacuate.
_________________________
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

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#282391 - 10/08/16 02:31 PM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: Bingley]
bws48 Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/18/07
Posts: 811
Loc: Anne Arundel County, Maryland
Made worse by the 10 year or so lack of Hurricanes in the area.
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"Better is the enemy of good enough."

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#282392 - 10/08/16 02:44 PM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: Bingley]
Russ Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 4552
Loc: SOCAL
Complacency. After you've gone through a few hurricanes and maybe evacuated only to return home to no damage, you start second-guessing why you left at all. Next time you don't leave and no harm is done. That's why people don't evacuate.

It seems like the people in charge always err on the side of over-reaction and then when it really is bad, no one believes.

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#282395 - 10/08/16 04:24 PM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: Bingley]
wileycoyote Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 03/01/11
Posts: 266
Loc: eastern oregon
yep, not always for dumb reasons:

while not the majority by any means, some folks refuse to leave pets and livestock (which may be impossible to transport, or having no place to take them)

people willing to risk their lives to save those they care about

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#282396 - 10/08/16 05:05 PM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: wileycoyote]
haertig Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 1911
Loc: Colorado
I've never been through a hurricane or faced any kind of evacuation order. But I know my mind would be going over the pluses and minuses of evacuation. At the top of the list is the governments bend towards over-protecting us and putting their fingers of control into just everything. It makes you distrust them, and that spills over into warnings and evacuation orders. Especially when you know the looters will be having a merry old time at your place while you're gone.

Safety is paramount, but many of us survived falls on the playground without the new government mandated special rubber mats to save us from ourselves. There's a point where government undermines themselves and we tend to laugh at them based on their silly over-reactions to things. Do we still believe them when they say "this one will be a monster"?

I would probably evacuate. But the above thoughts would be going through my mind.

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#282397 - 10/08/16 06:18 PM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: Bingley]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2800
Loc: La-USA
Part of our decision making process includes the knowledge that a hurricane will drop 1 category from when it hits the beach to when it arrives at our home.

We determine whether to stay or evac 72hrs prior to predicted landfall per our Hurricane Condition Checklist.
_________________________
QMC, USCG (Ret)
The best luck is what you make yourself!

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#282398 - 10/08/16 06:41 PM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: haertig]
AKSAR Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 1023
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: haertig
..... At the top of the list is the governments bend towards over-protecting us and putting their fingers of control into just everything. It makes you distrust them, and that spills over into warnings and evacuation orders.

.... There's a point where government undermines themselves and we tend to laugh at them based on their silly over-reactions to things. Do we still believe them when they say "this one will be a monster"?

I would probably evacuate. But the above thoughts would be going through my mind.
I think it is a bit more complicated than just government-over reaction. Leaving the politics out of the discussion, consider this:

Hurricane forecasts for both track and intensity are in the form of probabilities. So far, Hurricane Matthew seems to have fallen well within the predicted range. If the track had been just slightly west of its actual track (well within the probability distribution), many of those people in Florida who refused to evacuate would be in serious trouble. I suppose part of the problem is the public's general lack understanding of simple probability.

Emergency managers (i.e. "government") have to go with the best available info, which are those probability distributions. If government had not ordered an evacuation, and the track had been even slightly to the west, I suspect there would be many here on ETS and elsewhere bitc..... oops, I mean complaining about the "incompetent government who had the data but didn't warn us". Recall how much criticism there was of the Bush administration for their response, or rather lack thereof to Katrina.

Certainly there are valid reasons why people don't want to evacuate. Any disruption of normal daily life is a pain in the rear. People have concerns about looting, though in most cases the authorities seem to do a pretty good job of keeping that to a minimum. People worry about pets, though nowadays most shelters have provisions for pets. Livestock is a big issue, and I don't know if there is a good solution to that. And, the fact that in some cases the storm isn't as bad as predicted lulls people into a false sense of security ("...we didn't evacuate last time and everything turned out fine..."). But the bottom line is that Matthew was a very dangerous storm which killed more than 800 people in Haiti, and government has a moral obligation to take it seriously. Also note that it ain't over yet.

In another thread there was a link to a bio of FEMA head Craig Fugate. I like this quote:
Quote:
He criticizes the media for “celebrating” people who choose not to evacuate and then have to be rescued on live TV—while ignoring all the people who were prepared. “This is a tragedy, this whole Shakespearean circle we’re in. You never hear the media say, ‘Hey, you’re putting this rescue worker in danger.’”


EDIT: More on the current damage of Matthew: Hurricane Matthew batters South Carolina coast; storm-surge flooding feared Some of the photos accompanying this article of people playing in the surf, are good demonstrations of what Fugate was talking about. For example see photos #15, 34, and 46.


Edited by AKSAR (10/08/16 07:06 PM)
Edit Reason: current info on Matthew
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-Dorothy, in The Wizard of Oz

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#282399 - 10/08/16 08:45 PM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: AKSAR]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5917
Loc: southern Cal
AKSAR's assessment is correct. Put yourself in the decision maker's shoes. If you soft pedal the hazard and people get into trouble or die, you will be criticized. If you go to the other limit and describe the worst case situation, you will be criticized, but people will be alive. Which situation is preferable?

Authoritative advise is inherently conservative - "Never hike alone" - "Always carry the 10 essentials." These pronouncements are disregarded all the time and folks survive (although the rate may be somewhat lower), probably even by regular members of this forum (like me!). It is still good advice, like the advice to evacuate, and you up the risk if you disregard....
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#282401 - 10/08/16 09:29 PM Re: Why do people refuse evac orders? [Re: Bingley]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1272
Good post, AKSAR! Thanks for providing some balance and perspective.

If we prepare for things that might happen, surely we must recognize that these things also might NOT happen, and no one can predict them with absolute certainty.

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