Keywords: emergency management, evacuation planning, evacuation plans, wildfires, California, USA, United States, special needs population, local planning, emergency planning, evacuation readiness, emergency preparedness, hurricanes, decision making, communications, alternative transport, emergency management, crisis management, disaster management
Local emergency evacuation planning in California, USA: a comparison with the hurricane states
Many of the losses due to wildfires, floods, and other hazards can be avoided with proper evacuation planning. This study examined local emergency evacuation readiness in the State of California of the USA. Emergency planning documents were obtained from 41 of the 58 California counties; only 8 of those were free-standing emergency evacuation plans eligible for evaluation. The plans were evaluated using a tool previously developed for a congressional study of hurricane evacuation plans. The California plans scored relatively well in the areas of decision making and communications but scored poorly on other issues including planning for alternative transportation modes and evacuating special needs populations. Overall, the California evacuation plans did not measure up to those developed in the hurricane states. This study highlights the need to strengthen and standardise evacuation planning in at-risk areas and to improve knowledge about local evacuation preparedness.