Threat Perception and Public Preparedness for Earthquakes in Italy

Moran Bodas, Fabiana Giuliani, Alba Ripoll-Gallardo, Marta Caviglia, Marcelo Farah Dell'aringa, Monica Linty, Francesco Della Corte, Luca Ragazzoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Italy is prone to major earthquakes and has experienced several devastating earthquakes in the far and recent past. The objectives of this study were to assess the level of Italian households' preparedness for earthquakes and to measure the public's perception of the risk and its impact on preparedness behavior.Hypothesis: Italian households' preparedness for earthquakes is insufficient and is influenced by different threat perception components that were assessed.Methods: A cross-sectional study, using an online questionnaire, was conducted in early 2018. The sample included 1,093 responders from a diverse sociodemographic background. The primary outcome was the Preparedness Index (PI), a score indicating the number of preparedness actions complied-with out of 10.Results: The PI's mean was 5.26 (SD = 2.17). The recommendation most complied-with was keeping a flashlight at home (87.7%) and the least was securing the kitchen cupboards (15.1%). The PI was positively correlated with a higher sense of preparedness (r = 0.426; P <.001). The PI was higher for responders residing in high-seismic-risk areas and those who experienced a major earthquake before. The predictors of PI were: gender, age, prior experience, sense of preparedness, searching for information, and threat intrusiveness (negatively).Conclusions: The findings demonstrate a medium-level of preparedness; however, this might be circumstantial. Italians perceive major earthquakes to be unlikely, yet severe if and when they do occur. A validated tool in Italian now exists and can be used in future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-124
Number of pages11
JournalPrehospital and Disaster Medicine
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Italy
  • behavior
  • earthquakes
  • emergency preparedness
  • threat perception

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