Study Finds Disaster Preparedness Need Among Disabled

A paper published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that households in which someone with a transportation-related disability lives have spent more time packing necessary supplies and identifying a safe place to meet, but they’ve done no more to become aware of evacuation routes or to create an emergency plan.

Households where someone with a transportation-related disability is living spend more time than other households on some preparations for disasters, including packing supplies and agreeing on a safe place to meet. But they are no more aware of evacuation routes, buying food and water, or creating an emergency plan, despite many messages from emergency management authorities urging the disabled population to make such preparations, according to a paper published in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The authors, from Temple University and the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, used a random-digit telephone survey of 501 individuals in 2008 to conduct the survey. They found 19 percent of the households included someone with a transportation-related disability.

The authors said understanding the motivations and behaviors of such special-needs groups is crucial to increasing their overall emergency preparedness.

Another paper in the same issue analyzed trends in mortality rates from unintentional injuries from 1999 to 2005, looking for changes in rates for specific population subgroups. Poisoning mortality increased significantly in adults of all racial groups, the authors, from the Department of Epidemiology and Health Statistics at Central South University’s School of Public Health in Changsha, China, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Injury Research and Policy in Baltimore, found. Increases in total unintentional injury mortality among whites resulted mainly from increases in falls in adults older than 45 and poisoning in people ages 15 to 64. In addition, the increases in death rates from unintentional suffocation in white children younger than 5, motor vehicle crashes in whites ages 45 to 64, and drowning and fire/burns in white women ages 45 to 54 were large and significant, they reported.

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