3A.2 Perception and Vulnerability Factors for Tornado Sheltering within Mobile and Manufactured Housing in Alabama and Mississippi

Monday, 13 January 2020: 2:30 PM
151B (Boston Convention and Exhibition Center)
Kevin D. Ash, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL; and M. Egnoto, S. M. Strader, W. S. Ashley, D. B. Roueche, K. E. Klockow-McClain, D. Caplen, and M. Dickerson

Southeastern United States mobile and manufactured housing (MH) residents are the most tornado vulnerable subset of the population due to a combination of physical and socioeconomic factors. This study builds upon prior MH resident tornado vulnerability research by statistically and geographically analyzing 250 responses from a survey administered in 2018 to MH residents in Alabama and Mississippi with questions pertaining to their perceived tornado risk and vulnerability, protective action and decision making, and beliefs about the structural integrity of their homes. Results indicate that, despite the weather and emergency management enterprises consistently suggesting that MH residents evacuate their homes for sturdier shelter during tornado events, half of MH residents in Alabama and Mississippi believe their homes are relatively safe sheltering locations. Study findings also uncovered a perception and vulnerability paradox for these residents: Those who have the means to evacuate their MH often feel they have no need to do so; whereas, those that recognize the potential peril of sheltering in their home and want to evacuate, often lack the resources and/or self-efficacy to carry out more desirable sheltering plans. Overall, study results provide valuable information for National Weather Service forecasters, emergency managers, and media partners so that they may use it for public outreach and MH resident education. Future work should build on this study by expanding the theoretical and methodological concepts of MH resident sheltering behavior, safety perception, and decision making.
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