Beyond Vertical Evacuation: Research Considerations for a Comprehensive “Vertical Protection Strategy”

March 2013 (VOL. 31, NO. 1)

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Vertical protective strategy (VPS) refers to activities intended to move people to a level of elevation above a (perceived) threat within the area at risk. VPS is an important but understudied approach to providing safety, particularly in the case of short warning events, such as tsunamis and coastal floods. While extensive engineering analyses have looked at the feasibility of VPS, the social, scientific and policy analyses associated with it have only been given cursory attention. This paper attempts to fill this gap by first briefly introducing VPS and then discussing the strategy in relation to shelter in-place and traditional horizontal evacuation. We then go on to highlight issues related to the adoption and implementation of VPS as a government sponsored activity. Last, we propose a research agenda that identifies areas to be further investigated.