Preparedness Perceptions, Sociodemographic Characteristics, and Level of Household Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2006-2010

Summer DeBastiani, Tara W. Strine, Sara J. Vagi, Daniel J. Barnett, Emily B. Kahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Our objective was to inform state and community interventions focused on increasing household preparedness by examining the association between self-reported possession of household disaster preparedness items (ie, a 3-day supply of food and water, a written evacuation plan, and a working radio and flashlight) and perceptions of household preparedness on a 3-point scale from "well prepared" to "not at all prepared." Data were analyzed from 14 states participating in a large state-based telephone survey: the 2006-2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) (n = 104,654). Only 25.3% of the population felt they were well prepared, and only 12.3% had all 5 of the recommended items. Fewer than half the households surveyed had 4 or more of the recommended preparedness items (34.1%). Respondents were more likely to report their households were well prepared as the number of preparedness items possessed by their household increased. Risk factors for having no preparedness items were: younger age, being female, lower levels of education, and requesting the survey to be conducted in Spanish. To increase household disaster preparedness, more community-based preparedness education campaigns targeting vulnerable populations, such as those with limited English abilities and lower reading levels, are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-326
Number of pages10
JournalHealth security
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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