How Your False Sense of Security Might Get You Killed During IreneS

I have to admit. Despite some widespread panic, the first ever evacuation of NYC, and the threat of billions of dollars being lost, part of me wouldn't be surprised if Irene just struck us a glancing blow. That perception gap is a problem.

It's like Lost: Whatever happens happens. As Irene makes her way up the eastern seaboard, she may even weaken to a Tropical Storm. And that sounds at least a little less scary. Despite the fact that 200,000 people have lost power in North Carolina as of this writing. Because what do I know about living through a hurricane?

That's the Perception Gap at work. That your assessment of the risks at hand don't line up with the facts, putting you in some serious danger. And, unlike states like Florida and the Carolinas, us up here don't have a real hands-on concept of how bad things can get if Irene hits its hardest. But we survived Snowmageddon, right? I can almost guarantee you there are people in shelters right now who think nothing's going to happen. Meanwhile, people who have seen and lived through hurricanes might think they can ride it out the same way. One of the reasons why not listening to officials could get you into big trouble.

It works in both ways, though. In any unheard of emergency, there's gonna be unease about the unforeseen risks, causing traffic jams, violent outbursts, etc. Really, it's only the people who've been trained to act accordingly to such dangers that are most prepared for it. They've lost power and property in the past. Damned if they go through that again.

This may be one instance that I envy Florida. [Big Think]

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