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Public Health Rep. 2007 Mar-Apr;122(2):167-76.

The public's preparedness for hurricanes in four affected regions.

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  • 1Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave., 4th Fl., Boston, MA 02115, USA.



The purpose of this article is to look at how prepared people in communities outside the main areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita thought they were for those storms and for major hurricanes in the near future, what factors were related to why people did not evacuate, and what concerns people had in communities that took in evacuees from the hurricanes.


Telephone interviews were conducted with randomly selected adults in Baton Rouge, Houston, Dallas, and Mississippi/Alabama (excluding the immediate Gulf Coast) to assess respondents' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors about hurricane preparedness and response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.


The surveys found a sizeable proportion of respondents who might not, for a number of reasons, comply with future orders to evacuate. A substantial proportion reported that they were not prepared for another major hurricane and indicated a desire for more information about how to prepare for future hurricanes. In communities that reported taking in large numbers of evacuees, residents expressed concern about the impact of the evacuees on their community.


Evacuating communities involves a number of concrete problems that were not adequately addressed in the cases of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Responses to these surveys indicate a need for more comprehensive hurricane disaster planning.

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