Monday, October 29, 2012

Why people don't go to Hurricane Evacuation Centers - Reasons #4

Trust.  If you're not going to have a police state - where people are carted off the beaches and boardwalks, or forced out of their apartments in Zone A - you need to rely on a public that understands and trusts the directions they are getting in an emergency.

I'm sure we could put together a very long list of what prevents many New York residents from trusting emergency management officials:

I'll start with one:
I'll call it...
But Wardrobe Malfunction #1

Officials say that public safety is very, very important to them.  They don't want residents getting hurt and they don't want first responders, trying to rescue residents, in harms way.

Got it!  Makes sense.

But as residents are asking today, why aren't the 12,000 prisoners on Riker's Island being evacuated? 
What about the floating jail at Hunt's Point - 800 prisoners?
Check out Michael Howard Saul's blog today in the WSJ.  Particularly the comments posted by loved ones and friends of those prisoners.

Or Solitary Watch

Then talk to me  me about trust.

Civic literacy- plays an important role in the public's overall health and safety literacy.  civic literacy consists of the things we learn about what sources of information to trust, who to go to for reliable information, how we understand power relationships - is a dynamic process.

Sadly, in this particularly situation, we are "teaching" a very counter-productive lesson in civic literacy.

And we continue to wonder why residents, many of them from diverse communities, don't want to get on the evacuation busses.

Hurricane - why people aren't going to the evacuation centers - Reason # 3

Our own wonderful Channel 1 and others are reporting that most of the buses that are waiting in Zone A to take residents to shelters are empty.  Why are we surprised at this.
As many Harlem residents have said to our research team post Katrina - "you're not going to see me going to any convention center."

To me, this is a very serious problem that we need to solve.
Any ideas?


Hurricane: Why people don't go to evacuation centers - Reason #2

Reason #2

Now I'm a quick learner, but each time I've tried to use the  Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder on the OEM website to determine if I am in a Flood Area - ( specifically for Hurricane Sand - Zone A) - I invariably don't type in my location exactly the way this low-tolerance search program wants it.

You try.

Someone just reported that the site isn't working right now.

Hurricane Response: Why many don't go to evacuation centers - Reason #1

One Reason - try interpreting the flood area map 

Each time we face a complex emergency here in New York, you can see improvements in pre-planning, coordination and response readiness.  That's a good thing.

Broadcast media are constantly reporting updates and directions.  And New Yorkers are tuned in. 
But for detailed information you're referred to official sources: 

I'm going to focus on the critical information that is widely distributed in the leading websites:  NYC OEM, MTA , NYCDOHMH, and others. 
You can be the judge of how easy to read and use these critical sources are: 

In 2007  we published the findings of a study we did using intercept interviews in Harlem, showing people the then current evacuation map GIS Maps to Communicate Emergency Preparedness: How Useable Are They for Inner City Residents? ( Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management)

The vast majority of residents (83%) who hadn't completed High School ( nearly 50% of Harlem residents) could not use the map to determine if they lived in a Flood Area, nor could they find where the closest Evacuation Center was. 

Any ideas on how to make it much easier for New Yorkers to find out if they're in a flood zone? 

Any ideas on improving on the current maps?