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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel

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Household Disaster Preparedness in New York City before Superstorm Sandy: Findings and Recommendations

V. Nuno Martins
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Delaware, Department of Disaster Research Center, 166 Graham Hall, 111 Academy Street, Newark, DE, USA
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/ Hans M. Louis-Charles / Joanne Nigg / James Kendra / Sarah Sisco
Published Online: 2018-10-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2017-0002


This study focuses on household disaster preparedness in New York City (NYC) prior to Superstorm Sandy occurrence on October 25, 2012. The purpose of our analysis is to explain the level and patterns of disaster preparedness before a relatively rare natural disaster event occurred and to investigate the factors that influenced the capacity of NYC households to prepare for emergencies and disasters. A random telephone (RDD) survey comprised of 2001 NYC residents across all five boroughs was conducted by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and completed before Sandy struck the City. These data were explored using frequencies, cross-tabs, and factor analysis to build a path model of household disaster preparedness. Findings indicate that household disaster preparedness levels in NYC are high, especially regarding the acquisition of emergency supplies and communication resources. A trust in local government and assistance from one’s social network are the strongest predictors of general household preparedness. Exogenous variables in our model – low income households and those with functional and access needs residents – will be more vulnerable during an actual disaster since they are less able to access communication technologies to search for self-protective disaster information and to communicate their needs during an emergency.

Keywords: disaster preparedness; network assistance; Superstorm Sandy; trust in government; vulnerable groups


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-10-11

Funding Source: US Department of Health and Human Services

Award identifier / Grant number: HITEP 13000

US Department of Health and Human Services, Grant Number: Grant No. HITEP 13000.

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Volume 15, Issue 4, 20170002, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2017-0002.

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