Assessing Mississippians' preparedness for disasters using the Citizen Corps National Survey 2009

Carl Huston Mangum II

Abstract

Disaster preparedness, a shared responsibility of all citizens and disaster agencies, is the most critical component in minimizing risk and damage from disaster. Mississippi has been affected by some of the most devastating disasters in American history, both in terms of physical destruction and human life. The purpose of this study was to assess Mississippians' disaster preparedness by replicating The 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey (CCNS). The 65 question 2009 CCNS was slightly modified to survey 678 randomly selected Mississippians about the Citizen Corps Personal Disaster Preparedness Model: Demographics, Volunteering, Drills/Exercises, Community Plan, Household Plan, Disaster Supplies, Prevention, Self-efficacy, Reliance, Stages of Change, Severity, Risk Awareness/Perception, and Utility/Response Efficacy. A computer assisted telephone interviewing system was used to obtain data during December 2009. Findings included: (a) less than half of Mississippi respondents have food and water stored as disaster supplies; (b) 59% expected to rely on emergency personnel for assistance in the first 72 hours of a disaster; (c) and natural disasters were perceived as the most likely disaster to affect local communities. Mississippians reported higher levels of reliance on themselves, neighbors, and churches for assistance after a disaster than the national respondents. Results indicated that while Mississippians' level of preparedness was comparable in most categories of the CCNS to those of citizens' nationwide, improvement is needed. This study provides Mississippi-specific data that may be used for benchmarking and planning by nurses as well as health and disaster agencies at all levels.