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Evacuation Lessons From Hurricane Irene

• August 31, 2011 • 3:57 PM

Safety officials may have overreacted in preparing for Hurricane Irene, but that’s the best course of action, says evacuation expert Micah Brachman.

With Hurricane Irene causing much less damage than predicted by weather forecasters, many are questioning whether the alarm calls broadcast by government officials at every level were an overreaction.

In this podcast, Jai Ranganathan talks with Micah Brachman, a geographer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who specializes in mass evacuation planning. Brachman argues that the government response to the hurricane was an overreaction, but a necessary one. As there is an inherent level of uncertainty associated with disasters, especially weather-related events, overpreparation is the only responsible course of action. Brachman further discusses the surprising twists in planning for the rapid evacuation of masses of people.

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Music used in this podcast includes Bring It On No Vox by Jamie Miller and David Matheson; sugar and spice and stegosaurus by sleeperspaceborn


Jai Ranganathan
Dr. Jai Ranganathan is a biologist and his research focuses on questions of species conservation. He can be reached at jai.ranganathan at

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