Executive James Stone is the CEO of Plymouth Rock Assurance. He had his company poll over 1,000 New Jersey residents about evacuation after Hurricane Sandy. The result was almost a 50/50 split on whether participants would leave their homes or stay. Decisions to leave by residents affected by the storm cite the severity of the storm as the deciding factor which influences their decision. Expert opinions vary, but the consensus is socioeconomic in nature, and people fear to leave their home for various reasons. They identify with their home, and they show an unwillingness to leave due to the possibility of vandalism. In many cases, victims feel they could ride it out based on previous experience. Also, because others feel their home is all they have, or feel they have no place else to go. As residents prepare for the coming storm their anxiety grows causing them to make bad decisions.
In Tom’s River, New Jersey, an inland town, flooding was so severe that rescue workers were called in to perform over 400 rescues in flooded areas during Hurricane Sandy. Dangerous weather conditions not only endanger local residents but also the emergency personnel who stay behind to help. For whichever reason residents decide to stay, experts believe getting more information out there about the threats is a key to evacuation.
James Stone is a Phi Beta Capa Harvard graduate with and holds his Ph.D. in economics. He sits on the board of the Boston Globe and the Global Post. Mr. Stone is a New York resident, and he is married to environmentalist Cathleen Douglas Stone. He is the author of “One Way for Wall Street.”