How much can social behavior research help with wildfire education and research? A lot, actually, according to Lucian Deaton, who manages the Firewise Communities and Fire Adapted Communities Program in NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations Division.
In his column “Social Studies,” in the new November/December issue of NFPA Journal, Deaton writes that there is quite a lot of overlap in the two fields. Understanding how people think and why they do things is incredibly important in coming up with strategies to educate people about how to prepare for and react to a wildfire, Deaton writes.
“New research, for example, shows that it’s not always a community’s newly arrived residents who resist acknowledging risks like wildfire,” he writes. “Other post-fire evacuation studies have shown that residents got the evacuation message but waited to see what their neighbors did before reacting. Often, they waited too long.”
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