195769 Become aware, get equipped, be prepared: Disaster preparedness

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 10:45 AM

Semran Mann, MPH, CHES , Ladoos: Pink and Blue Program, Jakara Movement, Clovis, CA
Kurshawnda Harris, BS , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Education, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
David Busolo, BSc, MPH , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Education, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Patti Herring, PhD, RN , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Ed, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Susanne Montgomery, PhD , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Ed, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Elizabeth Holzhauser, MPH , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Ed, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Sanam Kazemi, MPH , School of Public Health, Dept. Health Promotion & Ed, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Natural disasters are part of life, especially in Southern California where earthquakes, mudslides and fires are regular occurrences. While we live with this knowledge and are often encouraged to be prepared many of us are not, and for persons that are poor and language isolated, such preparedness lags even farther behind. To address such preparedness challenges a group of MPH students worked with low income parents and teachers of a Southern California Head Start program of a mid size community which is located on several earthquake fault lines and surrounded by dense vegetation of the arid Southern CA climate resulting in regular fire danger. To best inform program development, students conducted a targeted needs and assets assessment(NA+A) with parents, teachers, administrators, and community members. Data were collected through windshield surveys, literature reviews, site observations, theory-based semi-structured interviews, and a confirmatory focus group. Data were coded, themed and analyzed using Grounded Theory methods. Results indicated that as expected participants lacked preparedness knowledge. Moreover, even when knowledge was observed participants noted barriers related to lack of financial resources, time, life stresses, and inadequate realistic experiences with respect to reacting during such disasters. Participants requested a hands-on-training workshop that included first aid training and materials including a list for preparing a survival kit in English and Spanish. We then developed, implemented and evaluated a pilot program using process and impact evaluation for program improvement. Results of the NA+A process and pilot study will be discussed in light of program sustainability.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify three reasons why many schools & community residents & schools are not prepared for a major disaster. 2. Identify three unique barriers that can be overcome in preparing schools & communities to meet a major disaster in proactive ways. 3. Describe how they might apply the programsí lessons learned to their individual schools & communities relevant to their geographical areas.

Keywords: Disasters, Minorities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Previous experience in research, organizing, planning, & coordinating educational activities
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.