What does it take to get people to flee a storm?
NEW YORK – Despite days of dire forecasts and explicit warnings, hundreds of thousands of people in New York and New Jersey ignored mandatory evacuation orders as superstorm Sandy closed in. Now, after scores of deaths and harrowing escapes, emergency officials will look at what more can be done to persuade residents to get out when their lives are in danger.
“The issue of those who either can’t or won’t abide by those orders – that is a question that we have to address,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said during a tour of ravaged Staten Island over the weekend.
The same troubling pattern has been seen in previous storms, and the ideas tried across the country include stern warnings about the dangers of staying behind, moral appeals not to imperil rescuers, scary ads, and laws that threaten fines or jail time. And yet people refuse to leave, and some come to regret it – that is, if they survive.
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