Thursday, April 29, 2010

National Capital Region survey offers insight into residents behavior during emergencies

National Capital Region residents offer insights into behavior during emergencies-New Survey details what people would do in 'dirty bomb' attacks

RICHMOND, VA –Most people in the National Capital Region would follow instructions to stay where they are after a radiological dispersion device, or “dirty bomb,” attack, according to a recent survey of more than 2,600 NCR residents. The survey also indicated that if an evacuation were ordered, most people would stay close to the region and not travel far.

Those findings, along with others from the survey, provide emergency and transportation officials with valuable information on public actions during emergencies. Results from the survey will help refine emergency response, traffic movement and evacuation plans.

“The survey provides in-depth information on how residents say they will respond if a regional disaster occurs. The survey data are beneficial to planners and government officials in the NCR as well as surrounding states as we look at potentially providing shelter, transportation and public information to people in need,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

The survey explored how people get their information in an emergency, information sources residents trust, the amount of advance preparation people have completed, and the actions they would take under increasing levels of personal threat.
Three scenarios – at minimum, moderate and maximum hazard levels – were created for the survey, starting with a single dirty bomb released in the region, but not near the survey respondent. The maximum level involved a situation with multiple dirty bombs released throughout the region and exposing the population to radiation. The scenarios were varied to learn the effects of four factors: the level of hazard, whether the respondent was at home or at work, whether there was prior notice of the event, and the source of information and instructions about the event.

The complete press release and overall findings can be found at:
“Population Behaviors in Dirty Bomb Attack Scenarios: A Survey of the National Capital Region,” is available at http://www.vaemergency.com/library/behavior_study/index.cfm.