The effects of the April 2011 tornado outbreak on personal preparedness in Jefferson County, Alabama

J Public Health Manag Pract. 2014 Jul-Aug;20(4):424-31. doi: 10.1097/PHH.0b013e3182a45104.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of a tornado disaster on the personal preparedness of local residents to determine (1) to what extent the tornado outbreak experience had altered preparedness awareness, willingness to act, and levels of personal preparedness of residents as measured by possession of a preparedness kit; and (2) what effect this experience had on the variables associated with having a complete disaster preparedness kit.

Design: Two random digit-dialed surveys were completed following the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System protocols. The pre-tornado survey was conducted between October and December 2010 and the post-tornado survey was conducted between January and March 2012.

Results: After the April 2011 tornado outbreak, 86.08% of the respondents (n = 1364) reported that they had thought more about personal or family preparedness and 59.65% (n = 907) reported that they had taken actions to increase their level of preparedness. Overall, general awareness of preparedness media campaigns increased significantly (almost 24%; P < .0001), as did the percentage of those having a complete disaster preparedness kit (a 66% increase, not quite doubled from 2010 to 2012; P < .0001).

Conclusions: Findings of the study indicate that the disaster had a significant impact on the local residents' (1) awareness of preparedness campaigns, (2) awareness of the need to be prepared, (3) willingness to become better prepared, and (4) possession of a disaster and emergency preparedness kit and its associated items.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alabama
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Disaster Planning*
  • Disasters*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tornadoes*
  • Young Adult