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Volume 29, Issue 3

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Evacuation vs. Shelter in Place, a Situational Comparison

Written by  Charles Richard Yard Tuesday, 20 November 2007 23:44

Emergency situations take many different forms. A house fire may affect a family; an automobile accident may affect several families; an earthquake may affect an entire country; and a hurricane may affect an entire coastline over a period of days. Many emergencies have common threads, which, if isolated, may serve as a basis for comparison and standard setting in planning activities. In emergency response operations, a decision must often be made to issue an order for a population to either evacuate or to shelter in place. This decision may have large-scale consequences that deserve thorough examination. All emergency managers may someday face the decision to call for an evacuation or a shelter in place action. In the heat of an emergency there is often little time to consider the consequences of this crucial decision. Due to the need for quick decisions in emergency situations, researchers are spending considerable time and effort