Concerns and perceptions immediately following Superstorm Sandy: Ratings for property damage were higher than for health issues

Joanna Burger, Michael Gochfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Governmental officials, health and safety professionals, early responders, and the public are interested in the perceptions and concerns of people faced with a crisis, especially during and immediately after a disaster strikes. Reliable information can lead to increased individual and community preparedness for upcoming crises. The objective of this research was to evaluate concerns of coastal and central New Jersey residents within the first 100 days of Superstorm Sandys landfall. Respondents living in central New Jersey and Jersey shore communities were differentially impacted by the storm, with shore residents having higher evacuation rates (47% vs. 13%), more flood waters in their homes, longer power outages (average 23 vs. 6 days), and longer periods without Internet (29 vs. 6 days). Ratings of concerns varied both among and within categories as a function of location (central vs. coastal New Jersey), stressor level (ranging from 1 to 3 for combinations of power outages, high winds, and flooding), and demographics. Respondents were most concerned about property damage, health, inconveniences, ecological services, and nuclear power plants in that order. Respondents from the shore gave higher ratings to the concerns within each major category, compared to those from central Jersey. Four findings have implications for understanding future risk, recovery, and resiliency: (1) respondents with the highest stressor level (level 3) were more concerned about water damage than others, (2) respondents with flood damage were more concerned about water drainage and mold than others, (3) respondents with the highest stressor levels rated all ecological services higher than others, and (4) shore respondents rated all ecological services higher than central Jersey residents. These data provide information to design future preparedness plans, improve resiliency for future severe weather events, and reduce public health risk. & copy; 2014

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 7 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Engineering(all)
  • Strategy and Management

Keywords

  • Superstorm Sandy
  • concerns
  • disasters
  • hurricanes
  • perceptions
  • preparedness

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