Population behavioral scenarios influencing radiological disaster preparedness and planning.

Research paper by Ayse I AI Parlak, James H JH Lambert, Thomas M TM Guterbock, Janet L JL Clements

Indexed on: 06 Jun '12Published on: 06 Jun '12Published in: Accident Analysis & Prevention


Considerable attention is focused on plans for sheltering or evacuating the population of the US national capital region in response to a regional emergency such as a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Such planning engages multiple disciplines spanning infrastructure engineering, emergency management, health care, mass communication, water and food supply, logistics, and others. Knowledge of population behaviors should influence the many dimensions of protection, prevention, response, and recovery. Of particular interest are the behaviors and needs of the resident and non-resident populations in the aftermath of a regional disaster, including those at home, at work, and traveling. The authors deployed a 30-min telephone survey to 2700 residents of the region to gain knowledge of their intended behaviors in the event of a variety of potential dirty bomb attacks. The survey provides a unique foundation for the current paper. The paper will identify and model the assumptions of population behaviors that most affect agency priorities for emergency planning including regional sheltering and evacuation following a radiological disaster such as a dirty bomb. The technical approach assessed several planning initiatives across performance criteria derived from strategic plans and applied combinations of behavioral assumptions to vary the relative importance of each criterion. The results reveal the behavioral scenarios that are most significant to the prioritization of planning initiatives and identify the highest and lowest priority initiatives across the criteria used.