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Perceptions, behavioral expectations, and implementation timing for response actions in a hurricane emergency


This study examined the perceived attributes, behavioral expectations, and expected implementation timing of 11 organizational emergency response actions for hurricane emergencies. The perceived attributes of the hurricane response actions were characterized by two hazard-related attributes (effectiveness for person protection and property protection) and five resource-related attributes (financial costs, required knowledge/skill, required equipment, required time/effort, and required cooperation). A total of 155 introductory psychology students responded to a hypothetical scenario involving an approaching Category 4 hurricane. The data collected in this study explain previous findings of untimely protective action decision making. Specifically, these data reveal distinctly different patterns for the expected implementation of preparatory actions and evacuation recommendations. Participants used the hazard-related and resource-related attributes to differentiate among the response actions and the expected timing of implementation. Moreover, participants’ behavioral expectations and expected implementation timing for the response actions were most strongly correlated with those actions’ effectiveness for person protection. Finally, participants reported evacuation implementation times that were consistent with a phased evacuation strategy in which risk areas are evacuated in order of their proximity to the coast. However, the late initiation of evacuation in risk areas closest to the coast could lead to very late evacuation of risk areas farther inland.

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This article is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants IIS1212790, and IIS-1540469. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Shih-Kai Huang.

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Huang, S., Wu, H., Lindell, M.K. et al. Perceptions, behavioral expectations, and implementation timing for response actions in a hurricane emergency. Nat Hazards 88, 533–558 (2017).

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  • Preparatory actions
  • Evacuation
  • Response action attributes
  • Trigger timing
  • Hurricane