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Simulation-based evaluation of port evacuation plans for predictable natural disasters
Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (2012)
  • Xiuli Qu
  • Maurice Jackson
  • Lauren B Davis
Effective port emergency evacuation could reduce the potential damages and losses caused by a predictive natural disaster. Thus, most U.S. ports have evacuation plans or guidelines established for predictive natural disasters, especially hurricanes. However, hurricane Katrina still revealed that these existing emergency evacuation plans may not be as effective as originally expected. The objective of this study is to provide a quantitative approach to evaluating the effectiveness of port emergency evacuation plans for hurricanes. A discrete-event simulation model is developed in this study to capture the dynamic evacuation process in a complex port environment when a hurricane approaches a port. Using this simulation model, an experimental study is conducted to compare the effectiveness of 80 port hurricane evacuation plans in the two public container terminals within the Port of Houston (POH). These 80 plans include the current POH hurricane evacuation plan and 79 variants of this plan. The simulation results indicate that an effective port hurricane evacuation plan should require prohibiting inbound and outbound traffic when the hurricane is forecast to be 12 hours away from landfall, and consistently securing port facilities, equipment and containers during the entire evacuation process.
  • emergency evacuation,
  • hurricanes,
  • simulation,
  • homeland security
Publication Date
Citation Information
Xiuli Qu, Maurice Jackson and Lauren B Davis. "Simulation-based evaluation of port evacuation plans for predictable natural disasters" Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Vol. To appear (2012)
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