A study on public perceptions and those of emergency officials during the January Tsunami Warning and Evacuation show the two views are closely aligned.
Dr. Ryan Reynolds of UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning involved a door-to-door survey of 275 residents in the inundation zone, and an online survey of 353 people.
According to the report, 94% of people in the inundation zone evacuated that morning, with 84% of those people hearing the warning through the tsunami warning system.
Reynolds said even though the warning proved to be a false alarm, people said they would not hesitate in reacting even faster next time
He said the vast majority of respondents believed emergency operations officials were right to initiate the tsunami warning system with the information they had that morning.
Reynolds said one of the problems encountered was around where to evacuate to, and expectations that evacuation centres would be opened immediately.
He said 40% of people went to the home of a friend or family member while 34% went to a commercial parking lot or restaurant after evacuating.
11 people reported in the online survey that they went so far as to head up the hump and leave town altogether.
A final report on the event will be released by the end of the year.