Everyone is “Someone Else” to Someone Else

You sit down on the couch after a good meal and click on the T.V. As you flip through the channels, you linger on a news report of a natural disaster in another city, state, country, and you think to yourself how awful it must be for the people affected. You may even remark to yourself, or a viewing partner, how lucky you are that it isn’t happening to you, because you’re area experiences similar natural disasters; although you’ve never been injured by one personally. Despite your somber words, you never really imagine that you’ll have to live through that kind of event. Even if disaster befell your neck of the woods, surely yours would be that house. The one with the property and family who rode out the “storm.”

These feelings are more common than you might think. On top of being common thoughts, they are also surprisingly durable as well. A recent study of Iowan residents, of a town just recently hit by a tornado, said that they thought themselves less likely to be injured in a tornado than other average Iowans. As interesting as the psychology behind this phenomena is, there are practical concerns as well. For example, how does feeling a false sense of security toward natural disasters affect people’s disaster preparedness?

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