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Helpful Hints: Myths & Facts During a Disaster

Bruce Rodgers


People will panic.

People are unable to cope.

Local organizations are overwhelmed

and unable to perform effectively.

Antisocial behavior (that is, looting) is commonplace.

Community morale is low in stricken areas.

Firm measures are needed to prevent personal and social chaos.


They do not panic. In fact, getting them to evacuate is a bigger problem.

People react in an active, helpful manner.

The destruction in relation to total re-sources is quite low.

Looting and so on are rare in disaster situations.

Community morale is generally high.

Coordination is more essential than firm measures.

This article is an excerpt from Psychological Aspects of Police Work: An Officer’s Guide to Street Psychology by former police officer and federal agent, Bruce A. Rodgers, PhD.

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