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What Would You Do?

A wildfire is raging out of control and threatening the homes in a small community. Despite the evacuation orders, some residents refuse to leave. Taking your best guess, the best way to motivate residents to evacuate is to issue dire predictions of what will happen if they stay in their homes.

What You Should Do

The correct answer is False. Some residents may be in a state of denial. Scaring them may push them further into denial. Other possible denial responses include:

  • Avoiding warnings or action recommendations
  • Becoming agitated or confused by a warning
  • Being unable to comprehend that a threat is real
  • Refusing to take recommended steps to ensure safety

People experiencing denial sometimes experience a sudden and deep feeling that the universe is no longer rational or orderly. Some may move into denial if they cannot cope with powerful emotions, such as fear, misery, or anger. Scare messages may increase the level of fear and actually push a person further into denial.