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

Gargano, Lisa M.; Caramanica, Kimberly; Sisco, Sarah; Brackbill, Robert M.; Stellman, Steven D.

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.


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Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness

More About This Work

Academic Units
Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health
Published Here
May 25, 2016