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

  • Lisa M. Gargano (a1), Kimberly Caramanica (a1), Sarah Sisco (a2), Robert M. Brackbill (a1) and Steven D. Stellman (a1) (a3)...

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)

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to Lisa M. Gargano, PhD, MPH, 42-09 28th Street, 7th Floor, Long Island City, NY 11101 (e-mail: lgargano1@health.nyc.gov).

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