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

4.1 Common Themes from the Analysis of the Available Literature

The following are some common themes regarding evacuations that have been identified through the literature search. This list, not meant to be exhaustive, is organized alphabetically and not in order of importance.
  • Events can be difficult to manage.
  • One can be trained but not fully prepared.
  • People can be left behind.
  • There are increased difficulties in coordinating and directing the evacuation.
  • There can be a lack of or little information on the event.
  • There is “on the fly” decision making.
  • There is a need for tabletop exercises conducted on possible scenarios.
  • There is an increased probability of road accidents or unforeseen circumstances.
  • There is conflicting information on the event.
  • There is limited ability to issue “prior to event” evacuation orders.
  • There is the inability to predict the time available for the population to seek shelter.
  • There may be a lack of or little choice in the situation.
  • There may be a lack of or little opportunity to shelter in place due to the rapid nature of the incident.
  • There may be a reliance on evacuation procedures (emergency management practices) in place and adjustments as the event progresses.
  • There may be difficulty in implementing special traffic regulation measures and plans.
  • There may be panic-type evacuations, in which there are changes in ordinary behavior due to panic situations.
  • There may be rumors due to lack of information on the event.

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