Online Program

Household disaster preparedness: Impact of awareness on actual preparedness

Monday, November 2, 2015

Tracy Thomas, MSc, MPH, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Joan Cioffi, PhD, MS, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Michelle Leander-Griffith, MPH, CHES, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Learning Office, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Victoria Harp, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Direct assistance to families during disaster recovery may be delayed depending on disaster severity.  Thus, personal preparedness campaigns encourage households to be able to survive for 3-5 days.  While messaging may lead to increased awareness, little is known as to whether this translates to actual household preparedness.

This study examines the impact of disaster awareness on preparedness utilizing baseline data from Ready CDC, a pilot designed to encourage the CDC workforce to become prepared.  Participants’ disaster awareness was categorized as ‘high’ if they reported the following awareness: need for an emergency kit, need for a written plan, disasters likely to occur in county, county warning sirens, and where to sign-up for free CPR.  Participants’ household preparedness level was categorized as ‘high’ if they reported a reserve of at least 9 of 17 preparedness elements (16 kit items and an emergency plan).   Chi-square tests were used to compare preparedness behaviors by awareness levels.  Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with household preparedness.

During September, 2013-September, 2014, 231 conveniently sampled staff provided baseline data.  Preparedness behaviors differed significantly between those with low (n=154) and high (n=77) awareness:  21% vs 53% had a kit, 7% vs 13% had a plan, and 40% vs 60% received emergency alerts.  Awareness measures were associated with high household preparedness, including need for a disaster plan (OR=3.01, CI: 1.52-6.20), disasters likely to occur in county (OR=2.37, CI: 1.02-5.48] and meaning of warning sirens (OR=2.07, CI: 1.19-3.58).  Additionally, one of three social connectedness measures (belief neighbors are often or always willing to help with routine activities) was associated with high preparedness.  However, disaster beliefs and experience were not associated with preparedness. 

Our study indicates that awareness was associated with household preparedness.  However, there are other influences.  These findings have implications in developing messaging around emergency preparedness.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe measures of household disaster preparedness Identify factors associated with household disaster preparedness Explain how disaster awareness impacts household disaster preparedness behaviors.

Keyword(s): Health Promotion and Education, Emergency Preparedness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the senior scientist of initiatives and programs aimed at advancing public health preparedness and practice. Additionally, I have conducted evaluations and quantitative analyses of determinants of health and social behaviors.
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.