Once it is in place, the idea is that three people—Christiansen in Menlo Park, California, Professor Robert B. Smith at the University of Utah, and Doss in the park—would assess the degree of danger of any potential cataclysm and advise the park superintendent. The superintendent would take the decision whether to evacuate the park. As for surrounding areas, there are no plans. If Yellowstone were going to blow in a really big way, you would be on your own once you left the park gates.
Of course it may be tens of thousands of years before that day comes. Doss thinks such a day may not come at all. "Just because there was a pattern in the past doesn't mean that it still holds true," he says. "There is some evidence to suggest that the pattern may be a series of catastrophic explosions, then a long period of quiet. We may be in that now. The evidence now is that most of the magma chamber is cooling and crystallizing. It is releasing its volatiles; you need to trap volatiles for an explosive eruption."
In the meantime there are plenty of other dangers in and around Yellowstone, as was made devastatingly evident on the night of August 17, 1959, at a place called Hebgen Lake just outside the park. At twenty minutes to midnight on that date, Hebgen Lake suffered a catastrophic quake. It was magnitude 7.5, not vast as earthquakes go, but so abrupt and wrenching that it collapsed an entire mountainside. It was the height of the summer season, though fortunately not so many people went to Yellowstone in those days as now.