The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

5188.0: Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 3:30 PM

Abstract #68815

Assessment of emergency preparedness in public schools

Marizen Ramirez, PhD1, Caroline Sauter, MPH2, Shreya Shah, MPH3, Deborah D. Riopelle, MSPH2, and Linda B. Bourque, PhD4. (1) Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center, 10911 Weyburn Ave., Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90024, (310) 794-0864,, (2) UCLA Center for Public Health & Disasters, 1145 Gayley Ave Suite 304, Los Angeles, CA 90024, (3) Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center, UCLA, 10911 Weyburn Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024, (4) School of Public Health, UCLA, P.O. Box 951771, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772

Viable school emergency plans can lead to reduction of mortality and morbidity during and after disasters and multiple casualty incidents. Based on the limited research available and anecdotal evidence, many suspect there are severe inadequacies in existing school emergency plans. The aims of this exploratory study are to 1) determine what types of emergency preparedness policies, guidelines, activities, and training exist and are being used in schools, grades K-12; and 2) identify potential enabling factors and barriers to the development, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive school emergency plans. The long term goal of the project is to use study findings to guide development of a comprehensive structured questionnaire that can be used by researchers and educators to assess emergency preparedness in schools. A stratified purposive sampling strategy is being used to select eight districts, 20 schools, and 80 school personnel in southern California to participate in this study. Districts were chosen to maximize variation on several key factors, including type of district (unified, elementary, and high school), community demographics, and likely exposure to selected hazards. Within districts, potential respondent schools will be randomly selected. Data are being collected through abstraction from official documents such as district and school emergency plans, and in semi-structured key informant interviews. This presentation will describe key findings on the range of emergency preparedness policies and procedures found in the schools studied; enabling factors and barriers to having a comprehensive school emergency plan; and implications for developing a structured school emergency preparedness assessment tool and process.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Emergency, Needs Assessment

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Various School Health Topics

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA