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School of Environment and Natural Resources


Hugh Walpole's Graduate Defense Seminar

Apr 22, 2016, 9:00am - 10:00am
460 Kottman Hall

Hugh Walpole, MS candidate in Environmental Social Sciences, will present his Graduate Defense Seminar. His presentation is Why Stay? Why Go? An Examination of Attitudes towards Risk in Wildfire Evacuation Decision Making.

The threat of wildfire to both to human safety and to property is increasing in the United States. Although household evacuation is the preferred method in the U.S. for protecting public safety during a wildfire, alternatives such as “staying and defending” have garnered interest due to their increased rates of structure survivability and reduced strain on public safety resources and evacuation routes. Much of the research investigating at-risk resident’s intentions to evacuate or to stay and defend their homes is focused around *what* option different people prefer rather than *why* or *how* they come to hold that preference. What research there is highlights the idea that residents must make a tradeoff in taking risks to safety to protect property or allowing property to be at risk to preserve safety. Our research proposes that resident’s evacuation intentions are the result of a heuristic process based on their pre-existing attitudes towards these two kinds of risks: risks to safety and risks to property. We explore how attitudes towards these kinds of risks, as well as factors such as a sense of attachment to the home and the presence of physical cues of danger such as flames, contribute both to shaping resident’s perceptions of the risks and benefits of different strategies and to the effectiveness of communication aimed at promoting one strategy or another.

This seminar will be held in 460 Kottman Hall.