Study Finds Most Los Angeles Residents Unprepared for Terrorist Attack; African Americans and Latinos Best Prepared
Jan 23, 2006
Published in: American Journal of Preventive Medicine, v. 30, no. 1, Jan. 2006, p. 1-6
Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 2005
BACKGROUND: Increasing individual preparedness for disasters, including large-scale terrorist attacks, is a significant concern of public health planners. As with natural disasters, individuals can help protect their health and safety by preparing for the emergency situation that may follow a terrorist event. Our study describes variations in preparedness among the population of Los Angeles County after the September 11, 2001 and subsequent anthrax attacks. METHODS: In 2004, the data were analyzed from the Los Angeles County Health Survey, a random-digit-dialed telephone survey of the non-institutionalized population in Los Angeles County fielded October 2002 through February 2003. RESULTS: Overall, 28.0% of respondents had emergency supplies, and 17.1% developed an emergency plan in the past year in response to the possibility of terrorism. Factors associated with having emergency supplies included African American (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.8, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.1-3.1) and Latino (AOR=1.5, 95% CI=1.0-2.4) race/ethnicity; having a household dependent aged =18 years (AOR=1.4, 95% CI=1.0-2.0); being born outside the United States (AOR=1.9, 95% CI=1.3-2.9); some college or trade school education (AOR=1.9, 95% CI=1.3-2.9); and higher perceived likelihood of a bioterrorist attack (AOR=2.2, 95% CI=1.6-3.0). Factors associated with having an emergency plan included African American (AOR=2.6, 95% CI=1.5-4.6) race/ethnicity; having a household dependent aged =18 years (AOR=2.4, 95% CI=1.6-3.5); and physical disability (AOR=1.7, 95% CI=1.1-2.7). CONCLUSIONS: Some groups were more likely to adopt some, but not all, recommended preparedness activities. Identifying subpopulation differences in preparedness is important since different public health messages, programs, and distribution channels are required for different subgroups.