Factors affecting household adoption of an evacuation plan in American Samoa after the 2009 earthquake and tsunami.
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American Samoa is still recovering from the debilitating consequences of the September 29, 2009 tsunami. Little is known about current household preparedness in American Samoa for future earthquakes and tsunamis. Thus, this study sought to enumerate the number of households with an earthquake and tsunami evacuation plan and to identify predictors of having a household evacuation plan through a post-tsunami survey conducted in July 2011. Members of 300 households were interviewed in twelve villages spread across regions of the principle island of Tutuila. Multiple logistic regression showed that being male, having lived in one's home for < 30 years, and having a friend who suffered damage to his or her home during the 2009 tsunami event increased the likelihood of having a household evacuation plan. The prevalence of tsunami evacuation planning was 35% indicating that survivors might feel that preparation is not necessary given effective adaptive responses during the 2009 event. Results suggest that emergency planners and public health officials should continue with educational outreach to families to spread awareness around the importance of developing plans for future earthquakes and tsunamis to help mitigate human and structural loss from such natural disasters. Additional research is needed to better understand the linkages between pre-event planning and effective evacuation responses as were observed in the 2009 events.
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