Considering culture in evacuation planning and consequence management


  • Wayne P. Bergeron, MS, DSc



cultural considerations, evacuation planning, consequence management


Because culture profoundly affects human behavior, it is important that emergency management decision makers from both government and the private sector who will be involved in the management of evacuation operations build cultural considerations into their planning, preparations, education, and training from the very beginning. Preparation in this regard ensures that when the crisis hits, the response efforts undertaken will at a minimum not disregard culture or make situations worse because of a lack of cultural understanding and optimally will use the consideration of culture to frame the most effective response possible to ultimately save lives and relieve suffering. Whether it is recognizing that in some cultures the decision to comply with evacuation advice and orders will be made by a matriarch or patriarch of the family, or that the ability of an entire extended family unit to remain together in the evacuation process will be the key to compliance, culture may be the pivotal factor in a successful outcome. It is these (and many more) small cultural considerations and an overall understanding of the effect that culture has on behavior that can enhance the overall effectiveness of a culturally aware organization involved in the management of evacuation operations and emergency response. Hopefully, this initial work begins a deeper discussion and evaluation of cultural aspects both concerning the populations and cultures impacted by events, but just as importantly, the cultures and cultural understanding of the responding organizations.

Author Biography

Wayne P. Bergeron, MS, DSc

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired), US Army, MS, International Relations, DSc (candidate), Emergency Management (Inprogress), Department of Criminal Justice, Security and Emergency Management, The University of North Alabama, Florence, Alabama.


Lindsey RB, Roberts LM, Campbelljones F: The Culturally Proficient School: An Implementation Guide for School Leaders. California: Corwin Press, 2005.

US Army Cadet Command: Cultural Basics. Fort Lewis, WA: Cultural Awareness Training Committee, US Army Cadet Command – Leader Development and Assessment Course, 2008/2009.

Silva A, Klotz MB: Culturally competent crisis response. In Counseling 101. Bethesda, MD: NASP, 2006. Available at Accessed January 15, 2014.

Seidenberg J: Cultural Competency in Disaster Recovery: Lessons Learned from the Hurricane Katrina Experience for Better Serving Marginalized Communities. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Berkeley School of Law, 2005. Available at http://wwwlawberkeleyedulibrarydisastersSeidenbergpdf. Accessed January 15, 2014.

Boeni T, Jigyasuii R: Cultural Considerations for Post Disaster Reconstruction Post-Tsunami Challenges. 2005. Available at Accessed January 15, 2014.

Bergeron W: Cultural considerations in consequence management and emergency response. In Caleta D, Shemella P (eds.): Managing the Consequences of Terrorist Acts—Efficiency and Coordination Challenges. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Institute for Cooperative Security Studies, 2012: 29-37.

Cross TL, Bazron BJ, Dennis KW et al.: Toward A Culturally Competent System of Care. Washington, DC: CAASP Technical Assistance Center, Georgetown University Child Development Center, 1988, 1989.

National Center for Cultural Competence: Conceptual Frameworks/Models, Guiding Values and Principles. Washington, DC: Georgetown University, 2009. Available at Accessed April 6, 2009.

Lindsey RB, Nuri Robins K, Terrell RD: Cultural Proficiency: A Manual for School Leaders. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, 1999.

Trumbul E, Rothstein-Fisch C, Greenfield P: Bridging Cultures in Our Schools: New Approaches That Work. CA: West Ed Knowledge Brief. WestED, 2000. Available at Accessed January 15, 2014.

Reinke de Buitrago S: The impact of psychological-cultural factors on concepts of fighting terrorism. J Strateg Secur. 2009; 2(1): 59-80.



How to Cite

Bergeron, MS, DSc, W. P. “Considering Culture in Evacuation Planning and Consequence Management”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 13, no. 2, Mar. 2015, pp. 87-92, doi:10.5055/jem.2015.0222.