Human and pet-related risk factors for household evacuation failure during a natural disaster

Sebastian E. Heath, Philip H Kass, Alan M. Beck, Larry T. Glickman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

104 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study characterized risk factors for household evacuation failure. A random digit dial telephone survey was conducted of 397 households in Yuba County, California, in July 1997, 6 months after residents had been under evacuation notice due to flooding. Case households failed to evacuate, whereas control households evacuated. The cumulative incidence of household evacuation failure was 19.4%. Fewer households with children (25.8%) failed to evacuate than households without children (45.9%, p < 0.01). More households with pets (20.9%) than households without pets failed to evacuate (16.3%, p = 0.11). With multivariate logistic regression, the risk of household evacuation failure was lower in households with children (odds ratio = 0.4, 95% confidence interval: 0.2, 0.8) compared with households without children. The risk of household evacuation failure increased in pet-owning households without children (odds ratio = 1.3, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 1.5) compared with pet-owning households with children; the more pets a household owned, the higher the risk of household evacuation failure was. Impediments to pet evacuation, including owning multiple pets, owning outdoor dogs, or not having a cat carrier, explained why many households that owned pets failed to evacuate. Predisaster planning should place a high priority on facilitating pet evacuation through predisaster education of pet owners and emergency management personnel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-665
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Volume153
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2001

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Cats
  • Child
  • Disasters
  • Dogs
  • Natural disasters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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