More on the Joplin Tornado Report

From Andrew Revkin at the New York Times. An interesting comment:

A substantial number of fatalities occurred in businesses.  According to information obtained from the Joplin emergency manager, 24 fatalities occurred in traditional businesses (e.g., Home Depot, Pizza Hut, Wal-Mart), and 21 and 15 fatalities occurred at Greenbriar Nursing Home and St. John’s Hospital respectively.  This is highly unusual; between 1985 and 2010, only 4 percent of tornado fatalities occurred in businesses.  Over the decade 2001 to 2010, there were 17 deaths at businesses in the entire U. S.  It is unclear if the business death toll represents some type of special vulnerability (did employees fail to take safety precautions?) or a consequence of many businesses like the Home Depot on Range Line Road being totally obliterated, rendering normal safety precautions ineffective.  Either way, the fatalities in businesses represent an unusual vulnerability.

Entire article here.


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