Dr. Sharon Johnson-Shirley,
Superintendent and Safety Specialist
The Associated Press reports that in a disaster, nearly two-thirds of U.S. parents would disregard orders to evacuate and would rush to pick up their kids from school, according to a new survey.
September 12, Associated Press – (National) Survey finds holes in U.S. disaster preparedness. In a disaster such as an earthquake or terrorist attack, nearly two-thirds of U.S. parents would disregard orders to evacuate and would rush to pick up their kids from school, according to a new survey. The survey found that 63 percent of parents would ignore orders to evacuate and instead attempt to reunite with their children, possibly hindering rescue efforts by adding to traffic congestion. The authors of the study, released Thursday on the seventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks, said that despite years of government efforts to enhance disaster preparedness, schools need to do more to plan for disasters and parents need to be made aware of the plans. The report was commissioned by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Children’s Health Fund. The federal Department of Homeland Security has allocated billions of dollars to help state and local governments set up disaster contingency plans. But just 44 percent of the U.S. residents surveyed this year said they have all or some of the basic elements of a disaster preparedness plan, including food, water, a flashlight with extra batteries, and a meeting place in case of evacuation. http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-09-12-us-disasterpreparation_N.htm.