USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Contents of Recent Issues

Volume 20, No. 1. (March 2002)

An Article by:

    Alan Kirschenbaum, "Disaster Preparedness: A Conceptual and Empirical Reevaluation," pp. 5-28.

      Preparedness is a basic core concept in disaster research. Yet, its conceptual construction and empirical validity have rarely been assessed. Combining a theoretical variable-based proposition set derived from the disaster literature and expert judgments, a broad series of measures of preparedness are proposed. Employing a national sample of 814 urban households in Israel provided the opportunity to empirically validate this concept. Both nonparametric and multivariate analysis showed that the general construct of preparedness to actually be a series of separate factors. Regressing each factor against a common set of theoretical explanatory variables showed significant differences in the set of predictors of each preparedness factor. These results suggest that “preparedness” cannot be seen as a single overall concept but must be evaluated in terms of its derivative constructs. For disaster managers, this means that managerial practices directed toward increasing disaster preparedness behaviors must focus attention and resources separately on those variables directly affecting each type of preparedness construct. (AA)

Research Notes by:

    Michael K. Lindell, William G. Sanderson, Jr., and Seong Nam Hwang, "Local Government Agencies’  Use of Hazard Analysis Information," pp. 29-39.

      This study examined 97 Texas government agencies’  access to information about hazards in their communities. The data indicate that printed products are still used more extensively than Internet products, which suggests that the transition from print to electronic dissemination of hazard analysis information should not exceed local agencies’  ability to access the Internet. Moreover, land use planners (LUPs) consistently were found to use computer applications more than emergency management coordinators (EMCs). This suggests that federal and state agencies should consider facilitating EMCs’  access to hazard analysis information by utilizing the computer applications with which their target audience is most familiar. Moreover, EMCs are more likely to make use of sophisticated hazard modeling applications if they have successfully mastered more basic computer applications or if they have partnered with LUPs in their communities who have mastered the advanced computer applications. (AA)

    David N. Sattler and Amanda L. Marshall, "Hurricane Preparedness: Improving Television Hurricane Watch and Warning Graphics," pp. 41-49.

      This paper examines the effectiveness of hurricane watch and warning graphics currently used by television stations during a hurricane threat and new, enhanced graphics developed by the first author. The participants were 378 persons (91 men, 287 women) in Charleston, South Carolina—an area that has had recent and repeated experience with hurricane threats. The hypothesis that participants viewing the enhanced graphics would have a better understanding of the time-frame associated with hurricane watch and warning advisories and of the actions to take, and would perceive the situation more seriously compared to those viewing the currently used graphics was supported. The new graphics may help increase preparedness and minimize property loss and exposure to life threat. (AA)

Feedback from the Field:

    F. Nisha de Silva, "Designing a Spatial Decision Support System for Evacuation Planning," pp. 51-68.

    Knowlton W. Johnson, Susan Olson-Allen, and David Collins, "An Evaluation Strategy for Improving Disaster Victim Services: Blueprint for Change," pp. 69-100.

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