Natural disasters and evacuations as a communication and social phenomenon

Goudie, Douglas (2013) Natural disasters and evacuations as a communication and social phenomenon. In: Meyers, Robert A., (ed.) Encyclopedia of Complexity and Systems Science. Springer, New York, USA, pp. 1-40.

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[Extract] The purpose of this article is to share with modelers and complexity and system scientists the social and communication issues of modeling effective safety strategies to a natural disaster threat. It is hoped, through the approaches and processes described in this article, that modelers will more clearly link physical threats with warnings and community engagement.

This article first looks at the definitions and language used in risk communication and effective warnings, leading to informal and formal evacuations, then considers some Australian policies relating to emergency management. Theories related to risk communication are presented, with examples of evacuation issues provided from Indigenous communities, and from non English speaking households. The needed conceptual shift to self-help is placed within the larger theoretical frame of paradigms and paradigms shifts.

An example of including residents to internalize threats is given, followed by a more general example of transport evacuation.

A discussion of international evacuation issues precedes a broader view of some of the institutional barriers which may restrict the uptake of the seven step approach to an aware, informed community, relying on accurate information and choosing to self evacuate as a precaution. These issues are discussed, considering effective ways of allowing people to know that they are at risk so they are inclined to evacuate themselves, as a practice. These approaches can be used or tested by other scholars. Recommendations and a summary of the key issues to maximize voluntary and safe evacuations finish this article.

Item ID: 28185
Item Type: Book Chapter (Reference)
ISBN: 978-0-387-30440-3
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An updated version of this Living Reference Work is available in ResearchOnline at the related URL.

Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2013 23:56
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1604 Human Geography > 160499 Human Geography not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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