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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    During peak disease transmission in 2021, the compounding threat posed by the pandemic and hurricane season required coastal states to understand evacuation behaviors during a major hurricane to inform the planning process. While research relating to hurricane evacuation behavior and perceptions of risk has increased since the start of the pandemic, there is minimal understanding of how perceptions have changed now the COVID-19 vaccine is available. A total of 1075 individuals across seven U.S. coastal states participated in a study on evacuation intentions postvaccine availability. Findings revealed that most survey participants (50.9%) preferred to stay home if a major hurricane threatened their area, and only 3.9% would evacuate to a public shelter. Approximately half (56.2%) of individuals viewed the risk of being in a shelter as more dangerous than enduring hurricane hazards. When considering shelter use, nearly half of respondents (49.4%) stated they would evacuate to a shelter before the pandemic; now, only one-third (34.3%) would consider evacuating to a shelter during the pandemic. Statistically significant findings include the relationship between those who lived in evacuation zones A or B (25.5%) and the choice to shelter in place at home (40.5%) or evacuate to a hotel (36.9%). There was a statistically significant relationship between the level of education and choosing to evacuate to a hotel. Additionally, the influence of pet ownership on evacuation decision-making was found to be statistically significant. Officials can use the results of this study to strengthen community preparedness and planning strategies across diverse populations.

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  3. null (Ed.)