'Shelter-in-place' vs. evacuation in flash floods

K. Haynes*, L. Coates, R. Leigh, J. Handmer, J. Whittaker, A. Gissing, J. McAneney, S. Opper

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    44 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper examines the circumstances in which a 'shelter-in-place' strategy may be a viable alternative to evacuation during flash floods. While evacuation remains the dominant strategy for a range of hazards, a review of the literature suggests growing awareness of the dangers associated with late evacuations and some limited consideration of shelter-in-place options. This study examines the feasibility of a shelter-in-place strategy for flash floods in Australia through: a review of literatures on evacuation, 'sheltering-in-place' and flood fatalities; an analysis of Australian flash flood fatalities and injuries; and interviews with flood and emergency managers. The results demonstrate that the majority of flash flood fatalities (75.7 per cent) have occurred outside when people have entered flood waters in a vehicle or on foot for a range of reasons, including to continue their intended travel, engage in recreational pursuits, continue their work, and evacuate or carry out a rescue. Interviews with emergency managers confirm that while shelter-in-place may not be the preferred option, the strategy may need to be implemented for flash floods when, due to the limited warning times, evacuation is not possible.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)291-303
    Number of pages13
    JournalEnvironmental Hazards
    Volume8
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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