Evacuation Behavior: Case Study of the Taft Louisiana Chemical Tank Explosion Incident.
Final rept. Dec 82-May 83,
OHIO STATE UNIV COLUMBUS DISASTER RESEARCH CENTER
Pagination or Media Count:
In this report, we present a case study of some of the individual and group responses to the threat posed by a tank explosion at a chemical plant in Taft, Lousiana, about 30 miles west of New Orleans. The focus is on the activities of the local emergency organizations, particularly their involvement in the relatively large scale evacuation behavior which occurred. In the description presented, the perspective taken is that of the local groups and what they knew or did not know as the threat situation developed. The analysis undertaken is a social science one which assumes that different valid criteria can be applied in evaluating any or all parts of the emergency response. The study was initiated because early reports and comments from the scene suggested that elements of a nuclear plant disaster plan might have been used in the evacuation. As our on-the-scene field work found, this was not the case in any meaningful sense, and only very indirectly did prior planning for the nuclear plant influence the response pattern of the local emergency organizations. However, our Louisiana study did find, as other researchers have consistently found, that disaster planning of any kind--and there was much disaster planning in the threatened area--makes a difference during a community threat emergency. Futhermore, it seemed particularly worth-while to document this particular case because of the high disaster risk nature of the community involved, its extensive experience with small and large scale emergencies, and the complexity of its disaster planning.
- Government and Political Science
- Safety Engineering