Amanda Ripley

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There is No THEY

21st Jul 2009 posted in Disaster Behavior

Nice article on Tweeting Under Fire in Reason. Summarizes a study by disaster sociologist (love the title) Jeannette Sutton about how regular people communicated during the 2007 Southern California wildfires—and it leaves no doubt that locals are by far the most important messengers. My favorite line (from a resident):

“There is no ‘they.’ ‘They’ won’t tell us if there is danger, ‘they’ aren’t coming to help, and ‘they’ won’t correct bad information. We (regular folks) have to do that amongst ourselves.”

For future reference, two good community forums for fire info:
socalmountains.com & rimoftheworld.net

Check out the full study here (warning: PDF).

Thanks to Dan for the heads up.