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Disability and natural hazard emergency preparedness in an Australian sample
journal contributionposted on 08.09.2021, 22:54 by Jim McLennan, Danielle EveryDanielle Every, Amy ReynoldsAmy Reynolds
Each year natural hazards result in large numbers of deaths and injuries among residents of at-risk communities. Some individuals are especially vulnerable to the impacts of natural hazards. Residents with activity-limiting disabilities comprise one such vulnerable group. One of several reasons proposed for their vulnerability is lower levels of preparedness to survive a natural hazard emergency. However, findings from North American research present a mixed picture. Some studies have found no differences between residents with and without disability, yet others have found residents with a disability to be less prepared. Australian research addressing the issue is limited. The present study reports findings from a survey of 1253 Australian residents who completed measures of activity-limiting disability level, and both material and psychological preparedness for a natural hazard emergency. Those categorised as having a severe level of disability were found to be significantly less well prepared than those with no disabilities on average. The difference was small for both material preparedness and knowledge about disaster threat and safety, but appreciable for emotional preparedness for an emergency. This suggests a need for provision of greater social support for some residents with disabilities over the course of a natural hazard emergency.