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Assessing Disaster Preparedness of Officials and Residents in Two North Carolina Counties | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2167-0587

Journal of Geography & Natural Disasters
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Research Article

Assessing Disaster Preparedness of Officials and Residents in Two North Carolina Counties

Elizabeth Shay1, Tabitha Combs1, David Salvesen1, Diane DeTrizio2 and Jennifer A Horney3*

1University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Institute for the Environment, USA2 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Gillings School of Global Public Health, USA

2UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, USA

3Texas A&M University, School of Rural Public Health, 1266 TAMU, College Station, TX 77845, USA

*Corresponding Author:
Jennifer A. Horney
Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Texas A&M University, School of Rural Public Health
1266 TAMU, College Station, TX 77845, USA
Tel: 979-862-8168
E-mail: horne[email protected]

Received Date: May 14, 2014; Accepted Date: June 28, 2014; Published Date: July 09, 2014

Citation: Shay E, Combs T, Salvesen D, DeTrizio D, Horney JA (2014) Assessing Disaster Preparedness of Officials and Residents in Two North Carolina Counties. J Geogr Nat Disast 4:125. doi:10.4172/2167-0587.1000125

Copyright: © 2014 Shay E, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Emergency management professionals devote significant expertise and resources to preparing for emergencies through planning and exercises. Despite this preparation by professionals, residents are often unprepared for emergencies and unfamiliar with recommended practices. This is a concern particularly for those who are socially vulnerable, such as the elderly, those without transportation, or those who speak English less than well. To improve understanding of this gap in disaster preparedness, we interviewed emergency managers and others with professional knowledge about emergency preparedness and management at the Country level. Findings were validated by surveying households to gather information about services and information received from officials before, during, and after emergencies. Results suggest emergency managers are aware that improved communication with residents could improve preparedness. Residents cite clear priorities in the types of information they want from emergency managers, including where and when to evacuate, how to maintain safe water and sanitation during a disaster, and how to prepare their property for a disaster. Attention should be given to identifying vulnerable groups and providing them with information about preparing disaster plans and related topics.

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