Personal preparedness in America: the needle is broken
Dragani, Nancy J.
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For decades emergency managers have strived to educate the American public on how to prepare for disasters. Yet many Americans are still not prepared, at least as preparedness is defined by our nation’s emergency management community. If the standard approach that the emergency management community has used for the last several decades is flawed, then the needle might not simply be stuck. It may, along with the entire system, be broken. Perhaps the problem is not just with the needle, which is simply measuring ac-tion or inaction, but with the actions themselves and the messages used to promote them. This thesis explores whether the actions individuals are asked to take are reasonable based on identified risk, and practical and sustainable based on barriers such as income and life-style. In addition, are the crafters of the message cognizant of the importance of sense-making on how an individual may choose to act based on the way he or she senses and responds to an incident, as well as the personal perception of self? Recent Federal Emer-gency Management Agency preparedness surveys and public education campaigns ad-dress the need for long-term resiliency over simple actions but may not go far enough to affect lasting change in behavior.
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