Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

3.3 Focus

Questions were asked regarding the focus at the beginning of the evacuation, during the evacuation and after the evacuation. The purpose of the questions was to determine how the focus of an incident changes as the incident evolves. Predominately, the focus at the beginning of the evacuation was getting the residents out of harms way and making sure the public was safe.

During the evacuation, the focus varied depending on the position of the interviewee. Responses varied from:
  • Keeping out sightseers from the evacuation zone – Union County Emergency Management
  • Keeping people out of the evacuation zone, dealing with citizens who had left behind pets and medication, and dealing with people concerned with their homes – El Dorado Police Department.
After the evacuation, responses varied from:
  • Dealing with aftereffects of the fire, smoke and chemicals in the air – Union County Emergency Management
  • Allowing people back into their homes – El Dorado Police Department
  • Making sure homes were safe to return to, conducting ground testing of the air near evacuated residential homes, and if possible conducting swab tests inside homes for chemical residue – Union County Emergency Management.

Generally, the immediate focus at the start of the evacuation is to move residents out of the evacuation zone: after that, the focus depends on the entity and its role in the evacuation.

February 6, 2006
Publication #FHWA-HOP-08-014