Research underway at Clemson University is examining evacuations during disasters.
Researcher Pamela Murray-Tuite told South Carolina Radio Network they are not only needed for hurricanes. “We are working with a couple of collogues at the University of Hawaii to collect some information on how people are evacuating from the lava.”
She said that a miscalculation in issuing an evacuation order can leave evacuees stuck in a lava flow’s path. “So it becomes a rescue situation where you would have to use modes other than cars or walking, such as helicopters.”
The recent volcanic activity on Hawaii’s “Big Island” destroyed hundreds of homes and completely altered the landscape of the island’s eastern shore. However, there were no reports of fatalities largely due to the advance warnings.
Murray-Tuite said a lot of thought and preparation go into an evacuation order.
The goal of the research is to help smooth evacuations and save lives.