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Timely evacuation is vital for reducing adverse outcomes during disasters. This study examined factors associated with evacuation and evacuation timing during Hurricane Sandy among World Trade Center Health Registry (Registry) enrollees.
The study sample included 1162 adults who resided in New York City’s evacuation zone A during Hurricane Sandy who completed the Registry’s Hurricane Sandy substudy in 2013. Factors assessed included zone awareness, prior evacuation experience, community cohesion, emergency preparedness, and poor physical health. Prevalence estimates and multiple logistic regression models of evacuation at any time and evacuation before Hurricane Sandy were created.
Among respondents who evacuated for Hurricane Sandy (51%), 24% had evacuated before the storm. In adjusted analyses, those more likely to evacuate knew they resided in an evacuation zone, had evacuated during Hurricane Irene, or reported pre-Sandy community cohesion. Evacuation was less likely among those who reported being prepared for an emergency. For evacuation timing, evacuation before Hurricane Sandy was less likely among those with pets and those who reported 14 or more poor physical health days.
Higher evacuation rates were observed for respondents seemingly more informed and who lived in neighborhoods with greater social capital. Improved disaster messaging that amplifies these factors may increase adherence with evacuation warnings. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:411–419)
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.
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.
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.
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)
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