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Needs Assessment of Emergency Preparedness and Response Activities in California Schools
School emergency preparedness is essential to prevent and minimize the health and social impact of hazards on the school community, including children, teachers, staff, their families and those who live or work near schools. Between September 2005 and February 2006, a mail survey was administered to representatives of 200 public school districts and 470 public schools, grades K through 12, located in 34 of the 58 counties in California. Responses were obtained from 98 school districts and 157 schools. Data from the survey were analyzed to describe the schools’ prior experiences with emergencies and disasters, the available resources for preparedness, their current levels of preparedness, and their needs for improving preparedness. Documents are available for download via the citation links below:
Kano, M. & Bourque, L.B. (January 2007). School Emergency Preparedness Survey Report: Improving Coordination Is Vital for School Districts. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center.
Kano, M. & Bourque, L.B. (March 2007). School Emergency Preparedness Survey Report: A Written Plan is a Good Start, But Only a Start. Los Angeles, CA: Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center.
Kano, M. & Bourque, L.B. (July 2007). School Emergency Preparedness Survey Report: It Takes A Village To Prepare Schools for Emergencies. Los Angeles, CA: Southern California Injury Prevention Research Center.
Evaluation of Wildfire Evacuation Plans in California Counties
Timely evacuation of populations threatened by wildfires is essential to prevent fatal and non-fatal injuries from exposure to fire, smoke, and other secondary hazards. There has been a paucity of studies that examine the characteristics of official community evacuation plans and their potential to minimize damage in wildfire disasters, especially in densely populated areas where wildfire may spread to residential areas. This study will describe and evaluate official evacuation plans for California counties at high risk of wildfires. A content analysis will be performed on evacuation plans obtained from 58 California county offices of emergency management using 20 criteria developed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security for an evaluation of catastrophic hurricane evacuation plans. The evaluation of plans will be augmented by key informant interviews with emergency management officials in the respective counties to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their current evacuation plans and their expectations regarding the public’s response to evacuation orders. Findings from this study will be translated into a model template and guidelines that can be used by emergency management officials to create or improve their wildfire evacuation plans. It is anticipated that this study will provide the basis for developing a large project involving a broader household survey on evacuations and the health and social impact of wildfires in Southern California communities repeatedly affected by wildfires.
Exploratory Study of Disaster Preparedness in Southern California Immigrant Communities
This study will explore issues related to disaster preparedness among underserved, Latino and Asian immigrant and limited-English proficient (LEP) communities in Southern California using a multi-lingual survey. This study builds upon a qualitative research study conducted in 2007 by the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) in collaboration with the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (TPRI) at the University of Southern California. This study involved key informant interviews with government and non-government organizations and focus groups with Asian and Latino immigrant community members residing in four Southern California cities. The study identified formal and informal disaster-preparedness and -response networks and resources and how they are prepared to serve immigrant and LEP populations. It also identified barriers to disaster preparedness for these minority communities. The significance of the qualitative study could be bolstered by a survey of the same population that replicates and quantifies its findings. Results from the survey can be translated into recommended policies and practices for government and emergency response organizations to eliminate disparities in disaster preparedness, response, relief and recovery, not only in Southern California but also in areas with similar demographics throughout the nation. Some of the project activities will be performed under a subcontract to APALC, as specified in a separate project report.
California Survey of Household Earthquake Preparedness and Mitigation
This study, funded by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, the California Seismic Safety Commission, the Institute for Business and Home Safety, and the Southern California Association of Governments, will document the current state of household mitigation and preparedness for disasters in the State of California with an emphasis on earthquakes. The study will determine the current state of household mitigation and preparedness for the state as a whole, select racial and ethnic minorities, and different geographical areas at high risk of earthquakes. The research will also identify the key processes that lead households to take mitigation and preparedness actions. Computer-assisted telephone interviews will be conducted with a total of 2,000 households selected by random-digit-dialing. The sample is equally divided across three strata: 10 northern counties at high risk of earthquakes, 6 southern counties at high risk of earthquakes, and the rest of the state.