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Public Response to a Catastrophic Southern California Earthquake: A Sociological Perspective

Goltz, James D. and Mileti, Dennis S. (2011) Public Response to a Catastrophic Southern California Earthquake: A Sociological Perspective. Earthquake Spectra, 27 (2). pp. 487-504. ISSN 8755-2930. doi:10.1193/1.3575728.

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This paper describes a hypothetical scenario of public response to a large regional earthquake on the southern section of the San Andreas Fault. Conclusive social and behavioral science research over decades has established that the behavior of individuals in disaster is, on the whole, controlled, rational, and adaptive, despite popular misperceptions that people who experience a disaster are dependent upon and problematic for organized response agencies. We applied this knowledge to portray the response of people impacted by the earthquake focusing on actions they will take during and immediately following the cessation of the shaking including: immediate response, search and rescue, gaining situational awareness through information seeking, making decisions about evacuation and interacting with organized responders. Our most general conclusion is that the actions of ordinary people in this earthquake scenario comprised the bulk of the initial response effort, particularly in those areas isolated for lengthy periods of time following the earthquake.

Item Type:Article
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Additional Information:© 2011 Earthquake Engineering Research. Received 12 January 2010; accepted 15 October 2010.
Subject Keywords:behavioural sciences, disasters, earthquakes, public administration, social sciences
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:PACS: 89.60.Gg; 91.30.Px; 89.65.-s
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110923-150152016
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:25424
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:10 Oct 2011 17:10
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 16:33

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