Sunday, 22 January 2012
Whose Responsibility Is This? A Study of Personal Responsibility and Natural Hazards in Hillsborough County, Florida
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
According to Rick Knabb, a hurricane expert working with the Weather Channel, the City of Tampa is the fifth most overdue city for a hurricane. Although this may be true, due to Tampa's geographical location, it has successfully avoided a major hurricane in the last 90 years. It is believed that Tampa residents have gotten used to the idea of invulnerability to hurricanes – however, if a hurricane of any category were to hit tomorrow, would anyone be prepared? Would it turn into the next Hurricane Katrina? This study surveyed 75 individuals in Hillsborough County, Tampa about their evacuation preparations, information dissemination, and allocation of blame. Some findings include a tendency to know about evacuation methods and materials, but an unwillingness to evacuate, a tendency to blame federal level agencies for failure when local help is always most efficient and first to arrive, and an overall preference of receiving information though ordinary mail. The study adds important qualitative and quantitative data to the study of disaster response that can be used for policy recommendations in both Hillsborough and in other areas at risk for hurricanes.