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Does Preparedness Matter? The Influence of Household Preparedness on Disaster Outcomes During Superstorm Sandy

  • Lauren A. Clay (a1) (a2), James B. Goetschius (a3), Mia A. Papas (a4), Joseph Trainor (a2), Nuno Martins (a2) and James M. Kendra (a2)...



This study empirically examines preparedness with a kit, medication, and a disaster plan on disaster outcomes including perceived recovery, property damage, and use of medical or mental health services.


Using a cross-sectional, retrospective study design, 1114 households in New York City were interviewed 21-34 months following Super Storm Sandy. Bivariate associations were examined and logistic regression models fit to predict the odds of disaster outcomes given the level of preparedness.


Respondents with an evacuation plan were more likely to report not being recovered (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.5-3.8), property damage (OR =1.4; 95% CI: 1.1-1.9), and use of medical services (OR = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.1-4.5). Respondents reporting a supply of prescription medication were more likely to report using mental health (OR = 3.5; 95% CI: 1.2-9.8) and medical services (OR = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.1-4.8)


Having a kit, plan, and medication did not reduce risk of adverse outcomes in Superstorm Sandy in this sample. Disaster managers should consider the lack of evidence for preparedness when making public education and resource allocation decisions. Additional research is needed to identify preparedness measures that lead to better outcomes for more efficient and effective response and recovery.


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Lauren Clay, D’Youville College, Health Services Administration, 320 Porter Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14201 (e-mail:


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