Emergency Preparedness: Knowledge and Perceptions of Latin American Immigrants
Zambrana, Ruth E.
Mora, Sonia E.
Aaby, Katherine A.
Carter-Pokras O, Mora SE, Zambrana RE, Aaby KA. Emergency preparedness: knowledge and perceptions of Latin American immigrants. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved; 2007;18:465-481.
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This paper describes the level of public emergency knowledge and perceptions of risks among Latin American immigrants, and their preferred and actual sources of emergency preparedness information (including warning signals). Five Latino community member focus groups, and one focus group of community health workers, were conducted in a suburban county of Washington D.C. (N51). Participants came from 13 Latin American countries, and 64.7% immigrated during the previous five years. Participants had difficulty defining emergency and reported a wide range of perceived personal emergency risks: immigration problems; crime, personal insecurity, gangs; home/traffic accidents; home fires; environmental problems; and snipers. As in previous studies, few participants had received information on emergency preparedness, and most did not have an emergency plan. Findings regarding key messages and motivating factors can be used to develop clear, prioritized messages for communication regarding emergencies and emergency preparedness for Latin American immigrant communities in the U.S.