5A.4 Why Don't They Leave? Examining Barriers That Prevent Protective Actions During Severe Weather Events

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 11:15 AM
Ballroom F (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Cassandra A Shivers-Williams, Howard Univ., Washington, DC; and A. P. Cole Dixon and T. Adams

During severe weather events, protective actions should be taken to safeguard against the dangerous conditions that may occur. Watches and warnings get issued in advance of impending severe weather in an effort to facilitate appropriate self-protective actions. However, some people choose to disregard these warnings, even in the face of obvious dangers and potentially deadly repercussions. Why does this happen? Previous research suggests individuals’ outcome expectations and barriers to action influence self-protective decisions. The present research aims to identify (a) individuals’ outcome expectations regarding what may happen if recommended protective actions are (or are not) performed, and (b) potential barriers that might prevent people from performing protective actions during hypothetical, potentially deadly natural disaster and severe weather scenarios.

The data presented here are part of a larger study. Thus, only a subset of variables will be discussed. Participants were 40 undergraduate students at Howard University. After reading multiple hypothetical severe weather and natural disaster scenarios, each presented with two courses of action one could take in the situation, participants indicated what they thought would happen if each action was performed, both good and bad outcomes, and what barriers would hinder or stop them from performing each action. A content analysis was performed to identify the most frequently cited outcome expectations and barriers to action. Results showed that while participants believed engaging in recommended protective actions would ensure their safety, several logistical factors would prevent them from performing these protective actions. The implications of these results for emergency management will be discussed.

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