The ever-helpful Lugon of the Flu Wiki, a site focussing on pandemic flu preparedness, pointed me at Redefining Readiness, which is a study about disaster response that actually, you know, asked members of the public what they would actually do in a disaster, and why.
Needless to say, the results pose some interesting questions for disaster response planners, like “will any of the stuff you are suggesting work, at all, given how little public consultation was done?”
Part of the reason that our work on Networked Domestic Disaster Response (aka disastr.org) is so pointed at the public right now is to see what people think of it. Is this cool? Is this useful? Is this what people need or want?
People don’t always know what’s good for them, but usually they do, and it’s usually safest to assume that they do unless proven otherwise. I’m not sure that’s at all how central planners normally think about these things.