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

4 Findings

Evacuations sometimes occur without advance warning or preparation. The phrase “no-notice” evacuations at times may be misleading. Communities that are located in fire- and flood-prone areas should expect to see wildfires during any fire or flood season. Communities located next to main line railroad tracks that are used to transport hazardous materials might expect to see a hazardous waste or chemical spill. On the other hand, communities should not expect to see acts of terrorism frequently such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.

What makes no-notice evacuations different is that communities can plan for the incident but generally have little time to assess the situation and start the evacuation process. During a no-notice situation, the need to react is immediate, with little advance warning. No-notice evacuations tend to be monitored rather than managed due to their chaotic nature.

February 7, 2006
Publication #FHWA–HOP-08-015