GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 191-9
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


MCBRIDE, Sara K., U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquake Science Center, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, BECKER, Julia S., Massey University, Joint Centre for Disaster Research, Wellington, CA, New Zealand and JOHNSTON, David M., Massey University, Joint Centre for Disaster Research, PO Box 30 368, Wellington, 5040, New Zealand

Our study examines ShakeOut, the earthquake drill and why people struggled to take the protective actions of “Drop, Cover, and Hold on”. To answer this question, we used research methods involving a longitudinal citizen science observation project (2012/2015) in New Zealand involving the drill. This citizen science research involved more than 9,000 volunteer observers. This interdisciplinary research involved research from social psychology, sociology, and anthropology in analyzing and exploring our findings.

The New Zealand context provided additional issues, as that country has experienced heightened seismic activity since 2009. Given New Zealand’s recent experiences, we assumed that most people would perform the drill. However, our findings revealed a more complicated story. Almost 40 percent of people observed did not participate, despite registering for the drill. When we asked our volunteer observers why people did not participate, embarrassment was frequently cited. When we explored this further, we found other barriers including caretakers of children, high body mass, disbelief in the efficacy of the drill, and restrictive clothing. This data set presented unique challenges, as well as providing valuable insights into why people do not Drop, Cover, and Hold on.