Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Donald R. Ploch

Committee Members

Donald Hastings, Suzanne Kurth, Charles Cleland


Both emergency planners and disaster researchers cite the lack of empirical data on the problems and needs of special populations during emergency evacuations. Although most evacuations of nursing homes and related care facilities are carried out successfully, the effectiveness of an evacuation (as measured by time to evacuate) appears limited by certain constraints. Among the factors affecting such evacuations are resources (such as the number of staff available at the time of the evacuation), type and number of clients, and community characteristics such as population density. This study describes selected organizational characteristics of nursing homes and related care facilities which have recently experienced either a partial or complete evacuation of their facilities. After discussing the theoretical aspects of organizations in evacuations and the methodology used for the study, the study discusses both the quantitative and qualitative factors affecting organizational behavior during evacuation.

It is evident from the findings that the continuity of responsible care for clients is of critical concern to both management and staff during an evacuation. The findings suggest that individuals within specialized populations are unlike other disaster victims and may require different management strategies on the part of agencies assisting in the evacuation.

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