Subways were shut down. Storm warnings were given. Why did many of the residents living in Evacuation Zone A not seek out a shelter before or after the storm hit?
Speaking with residents, volunteers, and disaster relief workers, Deborah Koo, with Pam Jue and Shelly Ni, uncovered key reservations residents had about shelters. In response, we developed a proposal to improve the experience, from evacuation notification through a stay at a shelter. The goal was to make shelters a more compelling alternative for potential evacuees. Our suggestions included changing how residents were notified of the need to evacuate and how their options were presented to them. Also, understanding residents were hesitant to leave the comforts of their homes, we recommended changes to the check-in process and shelter set-up to not only make evacuees feel welcome, but also give them privacy and control over their individual spaces while at the emergency shelter.