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Ref: LA poll finds almost half unwilling to obey mandatory evacuation orders during terrorist attack

LA Times

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Many would ignore evacuation order, poll finds

By Susannah Rosenblatt, Times Staff Writer
May 31, 2007

So much for the authority of local officials.

Just half of Los Angeles County residents would immediately follow local government officials' instructions to evacuate if terrorists attacked, according to a report by the Department of Health Services to be released today.

One-third of those surveyed said they would want more information before they complied with government orders to relocate to a nearby school during a terrorist attack.

Ten percent would wait until it was convenient or wouldn't follow the directive at all, the report showed.

People with higher incomes and more education were more likely to want more information from government officials before following emergency orders.

"What we need to do is to make sure that we build the trust of people," said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, the county's public health director.

"We have that responsibility" to provide clear emergency information, he added.

Fielding emphasized the need for disaster preparedness for especially vulnerable groups, including the elderly and non-English speakers, and noted the importance of keeping on hand supplies of vital medications.

A majority of county residents surveyed reported that they were at least somewhat prepared for a major disaster.

The county classifies preparedness as having a three- to seven-day supply of food and water for each family member, a flashlight, first aid kit, batteries and a battery-powered radio.

One-third of respondents said they were hardly prepared for a catastrophe. Fewer Latinos and Asians said they were prepared than were whites and African Americans. Older, more educated and higher-income individuals were more likely to have emergency supplies.

The data was collected from a random telephone survey of 8,600 county adults in 2005 and 2006. The county finished analyzing the data this year and has recently been releasing findings.

Copyright 2007 Los Angeles Times

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