The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine recently published Emergency Evacuation and Sheltering During the COVID-19 Pandemic, a rapid expert consultation that identifies strategies for emergency planners and decision-makers to consider as they update their disaster plans in response to the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. This guidance was produced through the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) and was written by Nnenia Campbell, a research associate from the Natural Hazards Center. Co-authors for this guidance include Rebecca Morss from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Michael Lindell from Texas A&M University, and Myron Gutmann, Director of the Institute of Behavioral Science.
COVID-19 has changed the nature of emergency operations in the context of hazards and disasters. Fundamental shifts are needed to ensure the health and safety of individuals facing emergencies. In this guidance, Nnenia and her team explore how lessons learned from disasters that took place in 2020, along with studies on evacuation behavior, social responses to disaster, and risk communication, can be applied to emergency planning as the pandemic continues to unfold.