Hurricanes and Refusing to Evacuate

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No matter how close or how severe a hurricane may be, there will always be a resident who refuses to evacuate and chooses instead to ride out the storm.

Referred to as a “hurricane rider” these people are making a very dangerous choice.

When someone chooses to not evacuate when an evacuation takes place, they are not only risking their own lives, they are also risking the lives of the first responders. The first responders must take their lives in their hands and go in and attempt to rescue them. Many a storm rider has changed his or her mind after the initial evacuation order has come down when they see how severe the storm is. In 2012 Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and Governor Chris Christie called the storm riders stupid, selfish and stated that storm riders put first responders lives in jeopardy.

According to the national weather service, Storm riders are putting rescue teams in jeopardy by refusing to evacuate as ordered.In spite of the warnings however, many chose to stay in their homes. By failing to evacuate, they greatly raised the liability risks by refusing to evacuate, and there is always the possibility of such liability.

Many states, like North Carolina, can impose civil fines upon residents who chose to ignore evacuation orders and must be rescued. Pursuant to the Modern North Carolina emergency management act, anyone who willingly ignores such evacuation warnings for their own personal safety, is civilly liable to repay the cost of such rescue should that be required by any governmental or non-profit agency. In addition, anyone who refuses to evacuate can also be held liable for injuries that his or her rescuer receives in a rescue attempt. Anyone who willfully endangers others through such reckless conduct may be liable for their injuries and for putting said rescuer in danger.

In North Carolina, the rescuer will generally not be liable for the emergency situation. By failing to evacuate storm riders have assumed the risk of loss, injury, damage or even death. Therefore, they generally cannot take action against the state or against any emergency responders if they have failed to evacuate and a rescuer cannot rescue them due to storm damage. Moreover, a lot of states have an emergency management plan that will give responders complete immunity in such a situation.

Under such theories, both state and emergency responders reiterate the message that they are not responsible for someone choosing to not evacuate when told to evacuate.

Please be safe during the hurricane season, and heed the warnings of the experts if they recommend you evacuate! This will prevent needless injuries and in extreme cases death.

If you have any questions on any legal matters please feel free to schedule a free consultation, please call Tindall Law Firm 203-755-0018 today. For more information please visit