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Exposure to the World Trade Center Disaster and 9/11-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Household Disaster Preparedness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 June 2015


Lisa M. Gargano
Affiliation:
World Trade Center Health Registry, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Long Island City, New York
Kimberly Caramanica
Affiliation:
World Trade Center Health Registry, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Long Island City, New York
Sarah Sisco
Affiliation:
Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Long Island City, New York
Robert M. Brackbill
Affiliation:
World Trade Center Health Registry, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Long Island City, New York
Steven D. Stellman
Affiliation:
World Trade Center Health Registry, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Long Island City, New York Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, New York
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Objective

In a population with prior exposure to the World Trade Center disaster, this study sought to determine the subsequent level of preparedness for a new disaster and how preparedness varied with population characteristics that are both disaster-related and non-disaster-related.

Methods

The sample included 4496 World Trade Center Health Registry enrollees who completed the Wave 3 (2011-2012) and Hurricane Sandy (2013) surveys. Participants were considered prepared if they reported possessing at least 7 of 8 standard preparedness items. Logistic regression was used to determine associations between preparedness and demographic and medical factors, 9/11-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) assessed at Wave 3, 9/11 exposure, and social support.

Results

Over one-third (37.5%) of participants were prepared with 18.8% possessing all 8 items. The item most often missing was an evacuation plan (69.8%). Higher levels of social support were associated with being prepared. High levels of 9/11 exposure were associated with being prepared in both the PTSD and non-PTSD subgroups.

Conclusions

Our findings indicate that prior 9/11 exposure favorably impacted Hurricane Sandy preparedness. Future preparedness messaging should target people with low social support networks. Communications should include information on evacuation zones and where to find information about how to evacuate. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2015;9:625–633)


Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2015 

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