Guest Editor's Introduction: Assessing the Complex and Multidimensional Characteristics of Evacuation Incidents

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


The articles included in this Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy symposium on emergency evacuation issues are drawn from research findings presented at the National Evacuation Conference, held in New Orleans, Louisiana, in February 2010. Assessment questions related to evacuations are of course highly significant for emergency management practice and disaster management policy. Evacuations are highly complex—and frequently dangerous—endeavors. The problems attendant to the unsuccessful sheltering and secondary evacuation of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the difficulties associated with the evacuation of the Houston and Galveston, Texas, metropolitan areas as a consequence of Hurricane Rita several weeks later are stark and relatively recent reminders of that proposition. There are of course numerous disaster evacuations abroad that likewise underscore the urgency and centrality of sound evacuation planning and preparedness. Unfortunately, roughly five years after Katrina and Rita, the massive dislocation of persons in Pakistan as a result of catastrophic flooding again points to the relevance of disaster management practice, evacuations included. But it would be a mistake to think of evacuation management as primarily a matter of infrequent large-scale disasters or catastrophes. Instead, the reality is that evacuations on a relatively small scale—either incidents in individual structures, such as building fires or incidents in a specific geographic area such as an accidental chemical spill—occur literally every day in the United States. In other words, a wide range of hazard incidents are sufficient to prompt emergency evacuations, and the high rate of incidence requires taking the topic seriously not only as an emergency management issue but as a research question as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalRisk, Hazards and Crisis in Public Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration


Dive into the research topics of 'Guest Editor's Introduction: Assessing the Complex and Multidimensional Characteristics of Evacuation Incidents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this