McBride SK, Becker JS, Johnston DM. 2019. Exploring the barriers for people taking protective actions during the 2012 and 2015 New Zealand ShakeOut drills. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 37:101150. doi:10.1016/j.ijdrr.2019.101150.
To reduce future earthquake injuries and casualties, it is important people understand how their behaviour exposes them to increased risk of injury or death. This includes behaviour during and immediately following earthquake shaking. Protective actions can reduce injuries and prior training can help prepare people to take appropriate actions. In this paper, we examine why people choose not to participate in the ShakeOut drills in New Zealand. Volunteers observed people performing the drills in 2012 and 2015. Observers reported how long it took to perform the drill and why they thought some people may not have completed it. Children, elderly, and those with mental and physical disabilities struggled with the drill. Embarrassment was reported as a leading cause for non-participation. We recommend more inclusive messaging to address potential causes of embarrassment. These approaches could include humour and more frequent drills in order to make the behaviour normal. ShakeOut could also continue to focus efforts on workplaces and school participation to link back into the community. Repeat drilling may also reduce embarrassment over time. Finally, with Aotearoa New Zealand experiencing many earthquakes in the last decade, ‘earthquake fatigue’ may be a factor of non-participation.