Consideration of Evacuation Drills Utilizing the Capabilities of People with Special Needs
Takashi Sugiyama*, and Katsuya Yamori**
*Department of Informatics, Kyoto University
Gokasho, Uji, Kyoto 611-0011, Japan
**Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
People with special needs are at higher risk during a disaster than those without because of delayed disaster evacuation behaviors. Therefore, one of the top priorities in the field of disaster risk reduction is implementing evacuation support for the people with special needs. However, assistance is often limited, especially in areas with declining and aging populations. In addition, past evacuation activities for people with special needs have tended to focus on the barriers they face and assistance they need during evacuation rather than their utilizable capabilities. Therefore, this study considers evacuation drills that utilize the capabilities of people with special needs. An “indoor evacuation drill” was developed and the evacuation behaviors of residents with special needs were analyzed. An indoor evacuation drill is defined as an evacuation activity that participants carry out within their own homes – for example, evacuating from the bedroom to an exit. In coastal areas, such a drill helps residents prepare to evacuate their homes in case of a tsunami, while in mountainous regions, it helps them prepare for evacuation to the upper floors in case of a landslide. The study participants were residents of Hamamachi ward (a coastal area) and Kumai ward (a mountainous area) in Kuroshio town, Kōchi Prefecture, Japan. The results indicate that an indoor evacuation drill conducted in the participants’ living area, such as the entrance or second floor of their home, is easier to implement than usual disaster evacuation drills, and helps people with special needs regain autonomy in disaster risk reduction activities. Moreover, the participation rate of the target population in local evacuation drills increased after participating in the indoor evacuation drills. Existing evacuation drills often overlook people with special needs, and delays in disaster prevention for this population are often associated with their lack of interest in related activities. However, the results of this study suggest that disaster prevention activities themselves sometimes overlook the challenges faced by people with special needs and prevent them from participating.
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