208410 Household compliance with emergency water storage recommendations in California

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Melissa M. Kelley, MS , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Michele Marie Wood, PhD , Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Megumi Kano, DrPH , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Linda B. Bourque, PhD , Dept. of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Emergency managers emphasize self-sufficiency as a means of coping with disasters. Because water is an essential nutrient, water storage for a disaster is crucial. The goal of this analysis was to document water storage in California households in order to compare it to official preparedness recommendations and to data collected from prior disaster preparedness surveys.

Methods: A statewide random-digit-dialing telephone survey was conducted with California household residents 18 years of age and older. Descriptive results were compared by geographic area and by racial/ethnic group, and with data on water storage from the Whittier Narrows, Loma Prieta and Northridge earthquakes. All three prior earthquake studies were random-digit-dialing telephone surveys with comparable questions on disaster water storage.

Results: Of the households interviewed (N=2,081), approximately one in three (31%) have no stored water. Approximately 70% of households with stored water met or exceeded preparedness recommendations. A statistically significant relationship existed between race/ethnicity and water storage; no statistically significant relationship existed between the amount of water stored and geographic location or race/ethnicity. Water storage results from this study were consistent with three previous studies as 31% of respondents in the Whittier Narrows study, 31% in the Loma Prieta study and 32% in the Northridge study had not stored water.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that, consistent with twenty years of disaster research, one in three California households currently has no water stored. The implication is that California residents have not internalized preparedness messages despite exposure to large earthquakes and resulting public education efforts.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the current level of disaster water storage in California households. 2. Describe differential levels of water storage by geographic location and race/ethnicity. 3. Discuss the importance of disaster water storage, and its impact on designing preparedness messages as well as identifying vulnerable segments of the population.

Keywords: Disasters, Water

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I has a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics with a minor in Public Health from UCLA. I also holds an A.S. degree from Allan Hancock College in Fire Technology. I am currently a candidate for an M.S.P.H. in Community Health Sciences with a specialization in Emergency Public Health at the UCLA School of Public Health. I have been accepted as a doctorate student at UCLA for the upcoming academic year to continue research on disasters and emergency preparedness. My current and relevant research experience involves data analysis onthe National Survey on Disaster Experiences and Preparedness as well as the California Survey of Household Earthquake Preparedness and Mitigation. My professional experience includes several years of work in Southern California as an emergency medical technician and firefighter with exposure to prehospital care, firefighting, technical rescue, hazardous materials mitigation, public education and disaster recovery.
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.