Household Preparedness Is Not Enough

The Challenges and Opportunities in Assessing Community Readiness for Disasters

Published in: Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, v. 19, Suppl. 5, Sep./Oct. 2013, p. S70-S76

Posted on RAND.org on September 01, 2013

by Lori Uscher-Pines, Anita Chandra, Joie D. Acosta

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Research Question

  1. How should community preparedness and resilience be appropriately measured?

The public health community faces numerous challenges in measuring community preparedness and resilience. This study aimed to identify existing measures of partnership, self-sufficiency, and social connectedness, as well as gaps and opportunities in the measurement of community preparedness and resilience. To accomplish these aims, the study team conducted a broad environmental scan to identify a list of possible measures in these areas and then assessed these measures using a set of standard criteria and feedback from key informants. Results suggest that while there is great interest in quantifying community preparedness, existing data have major limitations. There is a need for more measures of organizational and network activity and measures in the area of community engagement and empowerment.

Key Findings

  • Existing data for assessing community readiness have major limitations.
  • Accurate assessment will require more measures of organizational and network activity as well as measures of community engagement and empowerment.

Research conducted by

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