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Evacuation, how safely can you leave your city if you have to?

Blog Post created by faithberry Employee on Sep 4, 2019

Recent hurricanes and other wildfire disasters serve as a reminder that being able to evacuate quickly can mean the difference in whether or not you are able to survive.  When creating evacuation routes, it is important to use sound data to make sure traffic does not get congested at choke points, putting people at risk.  

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) recently posted research from StreetLight Data that can help emergency managers and government agencies with evacuation planning.  They looked at 30,000 communities across the United States with populations 40,000 or less, evaluating their evacuation routes.

According to the infogram, “Researchers developed an index based on the total number of routes out of town, the percentage of people who take certain routes on a typical day, and the total population. The data from this study can help towns consider the reality of evacuation plans in terms of road maintenance and availability when combined with human behavior.”

According to an Emergency Management article about this data, the states with the most evacuation-challenged communities some of which are also located in wildfire prone areas were:

  • Florida (20 communities)
  • California (14 communities)
  • Arizona (8 communities)
  • Texas (6 communities)

StreetLight Data has also made a list of the top 100 communities in the United States with limited evacuation routes available.

Before you need to evacuate make sure that your community has a good plan in place based upon reliable data.  For more information about preparing to evacuate, check out NFPA’s free resources available on the TakeAction  and Public Education pages.

Photo credit: NFPA

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