In a chronic risk environment such as a community near an active volcano, uncertainty intertwines with fear and can seriously damage people's physical and emotional health, and stress family interpersonal conditions. In the case described here, we present information about families' responses to living around an active volcano in Ecuador, South America. This information was obtained through open–ended focus groups with men and women. We found that adults' perceptions of risk and evacuation preparedness strategies change once they have children. Parents expressed concern over the places designated as shelters in the case of an evacuation and the suitability of pre–planned evacuation routes. Civil and public health authorities need to take these issues into consideration while planning evacuations and helping people cope with the uncertainty of living in chronic risk conditions.
Keywords: parents, emotional health, physical health, stress, family relations, children, Ecuador, parental response, natural disasters, chronic risk, active volcanoes, risk perception, evacuation preparedness, emergency management, Ecuador, pre–planned evacuation, evacuation shelters, uncertainty, evacuation planning, emergency planning, disaster planning, disaster response, emergency response