Collective Behavior In the September 11, 2001 Evacuation Of The World Trade Center

Connell, Rory
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Disaster Research Center
Collective behavior framework is utilized to examine the evacuation of the World Trade Center complex following the attacks of September 11. Using both first-person newspaper accounts and media reports, the paper focuses on emerging norms in the decision to evacuate as well as the evacuation process itself. Three key factors affected the decision to evacuate: (1) social location, (2) the role of leaders, and (3) the level of perceived threat. Helping behavior, the definition of norms in the stairwells, and episodes of deviant behavior as emerging norms were all evident in the evacuation process. Panic was not widely observed during the evacuation of the Twin Towers. Improvements made following the 1993 World Trade Center attack contributed to a more successful evacuation.
World Trade Center , Evacuation , Collective Behavior , social location , leaders , threat