Evacuating the Halifax Peninsula: Multidisciplinary Analysis and Training to Improve Evacuation from Coastal Floods

Project: Research

Description

Our research will provide two principal outcomes. First, we will issue a publically available report that summarizes our findings and recommendations for improvement of evacuations during floods. Secondly, we will develop a prototype for a collaborative game that can be used to train emergency managers for different evacuation scenarios, focussing on interdependence, time constraint, unanticipated human reactions, judgement, cooperation and accountability. Experience can be difficult to obtain in the context of evacuations because they happen so rarely; our prototype will help to develop skills and judgement so emergency managers can be more aware of context and better prepared should an event occur.

Layman's description

Hurricane Rita caused nine deaths after it slammed ashore near the Texas-Louisiana border in September 2005. Ironically, 28 people were killed in the mass evacuation before the storm. Poorly conceived and executed evacuation plans result in wide-ranging social and economic devastation. Despite this, most cities in Canada do not have detailed evacuation plans.

City evacuations are complex and highly uncertain undertakings. Evacuation decisions are informed by difficult risk trade-offs, and depend on the availability of transportation and shelter and the needs of facilities like hospitals, schools, daycare centres, prisons, and nursing homes. Evacuation decisions are often made with limited time; they also need to adapt as events unfold.

The goal of this study is to assemble a highly interdisciplinary and international team to improve coastal city evacuation processes in response to tsunamis and extreme maritime weather, such as hurricanes and associated storm surges. Closely partnered with emergency management professionals, we will use Halifax peninsula as a test case to examine governance and coordination, evacuation psychology, traffic flow and plausible flood patterns.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/01/1630/04/17