Vulnerability to natural disasters is increasing globally1,2,3. In parallel, the responsibility for natural hazard preparedness has shifted to communities and individuals4. It is therefore crucial that households increase their preparedness, yet adoption of household preparedness measures continues to be low, even in high-risk regions5,6,7,8. In addition, few hazard-preparedness interventions have been evaluated longitudinally using observational measures. Therefore, we conducted a controlled intervention with a 12-month follow-up on adults in communities in the United States and Turkey that focused on improving household earthquake and fire preparedness. We show that this Fix-it intervention, involving evidence-based, face-to-face workshops, increased multihazard preparedness in both cultures longitudinally. Compared to baseline, the primary outcome—overall preparedness—increased significantly in the intervention groups, with more improvement in earthquake preparedness in the Turkish participants and more improvements in fire preparedness in the US participants. High baseline outcome expectancy and home ownership predicted overall preparedness change in both intervention groups longitudinally, implying that a sense of agency influences preparedness. An unintended consequence of observation is that it may increase preparedness, as even the control groups changed their behaviour. Therefore, observation of home preparatory behaviours by an external source may be a way to extend multihazard preparedness across a population.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $8.67 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on request. These anonymized data will be held indefinitely in SPSS Portal format. They are accompanied by metadata on the study and a data dictionary describing the variables.
Gencer, E. A. in The Interplay Between Urban Development, Vulnerability, and Risk Management 7–43 (Springer, 2013).
UNISDR & OCHA. Disaster Preparedness for Effective Response: Guidance and Indicator Package for Implementing Priority Five of the Hyogo Framework (UN, 2008).
Hampel, A., Hetzel, R. & Maniatis, G. Response of faults to climate-driven changes in ice and water volumes on Earth’s surface. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 368, 2501–2517 (2010).
Risk Reduction and Emergency Preparedness: WHO Six-Year Strategy for the Health Sector and Community Capacity Development (WHO, 2007).
Joffe, H., Rossetto, T., Solberg, C. & O’Connor, C. Social representations of earthquakes: a study of people living in three highly seismic areas. Earthq. Spectra 29, 367–397 (2013).
Ballantyne, M., Paton, D., Johnston, D., Kozuch, M. & Daly, M. Information on Volcanic and Earthquake Hazards: the Impact on Awareness and Preparation (Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited, 2000).
Duval, T. S. & Mulilis, J. P. A person‐relative‐to‐event (PrE) approach to negative threat appeals and earthquake preparedness: a field study. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 29, 495–516 (1999).
McClure, J., Walkey, F. & Allen, M. When earthquake damage is seen as preventable: attributions, locus of control and attitudes to risk. Appl. Psychol. 48, 239–256 (1999).
Global Estimates 2015: People Displaced by Disasters (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 2015).
Lindell, M. & Whitney, D. Correlates of household seismic hazard adjustment adoption. Risk Anal. 20, 13–26 (2000).
Kirschenbaum, A. Preparing for the inevitable: environmental risk perceptions and disaster preparedness. Int. J. Mass Emerg. Disast 23, 97–127 (2005).
Mulilis, J., Duval, T. & Lippa, R. The effects of a large destructive local earthquake on earthquake preparedness as assessed by an earthquake preparedness scale. Nat. Hazards 3, 357–371 (1990).
Turner, R. H., Nigg, J. M. & Paz, D. H. Waiting for Disaster: Earthquake Watch in California (Univ. California Press, 1986).
Nguyen, L. H., Shen, H., Ershoff, D., Afifi, A. A. & Bourque, L. B. Exploring the causal relationship between exposure to the 1994 Northridge earthquake and pre- and post-earthquake preparedness activities. Earthq. Spectra 22, 569–587 (2006).
Paton, D. & Johnston, D. M. The Christchurch earthquake: integrating perspectives from diverse disciplines. Int. J. Disast. Risk Red. 14, 1–5 (2015).
Verrucci, E. et al. Digital engagement methods for earthquake and fire preparedness: a review. Nat. Hazards 83, 1583–1604 (2016).
Scawthorn, C., Schneider, P. J. & Schauer, B. A. Natural hazards—the multihazard approach. Nat. Hazards Rev. 7, 39–39 (2006).
Rodin, J. The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong (PublicAffairs, 2014).
Scawthorn, C., O’Rourke, T. & Blackburn, F. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire—enduring lessons for fire protection and water supply. Earthq. Spectra 22, 135–158 (2006).
Perez-Fuentes, G., Verrucci, E. & Joffe, H. A review of current earthquake and fire preparedness campaigns: what works? in Dynamics of Disasters—Key Concepts, Models, Algorithms, and Insights (eds. Kotsireas I., Nagurney A., & Pardalos P.) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43709-5_13 (Springer, 2015).
Sorensen, J. H. & Mileti, D. S. Programs that that encourage the adoption of precautions against natural hazards: review and evaluation. in Taking care: Understanding and encouraging self-protective behaviour (ed. Weinstein, N.D.) 208–230 (Cambridge University Press, 1987).
Mulilis, J. & Lippa, R. Behavioral change in earthquake preparedness due to negative threat appeals: a test of protection motivation theory. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 20, 619–638 (1990).
Mulilis, J. P. & Duval, T. S. Negative threat appeals and earthquake preparedness: a person‐relative‐to‐event (PrE) model of coping with threat. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 25, 1319–1339 (1995).
Eisenman, D. P. et al. Improving Latino disaster preparedness using social networks. Am. J. Prev. Med. 37, 512–517 (2009).
Glik, D. C., Eisenman, D. P., Zhou, Q., Tseng, C. H. & Asch, S. M. Using the Precaution Adoption Process model to describe a disaster preparedness intervention among low-income Latinos. Health Educ. Res. 29, 272–283 (2014).
McDonald, E. & Gielen, A. House fires and other unintentional home injuries. in Injury and Violence Prevention: Behavioral Science Theories, Methods, and Applications (eds. Gielen, A., Sleet, D. & DiClemente, R. J.) 274−296 (Jossey-Bass, 2006).
Ta, V. M., Frattaroli, S., Bergen, G. & Gielen, A. C. Evaluated community fire safety interventions in the United States: a review of current literature. J. Commun. Health 31, 176–197 (2006).
Mallonee, S. et al. Surveillance and prevention of residential-fire injuries. New Engl. J. Med. 335, 27–31 (1996).
Douglas, M. R., Mallonee, S. & Istre, G. R. Comparison of community based smoke detector distribution methods in an urban community. Inj. Prev. 4, 28–32 (1998).
Miller, T. R. et al. Increasing smoke alarm operability through theory-based health education: a randomised trial. J. Epidemiol. Commun. Health 68, 1168–1174 (2014).
Dodou, D. & de Winter, J. C. Social desirability is the same in offline, online, and paper surveys: a meta-analysis. Comput. Hum. Behav. 36, 487–495 (2014).
Elgin, K. G. Improving the seismic performance of existing buildings and other structures. in Proceedings of the 2009 ATC and SEI Conference on Improving Buildings and Other Structures. (ed. Goodno, B.) 1129–1140 (American Society of Civil Engineers, 2009)
Karanci, N., Aksit, B. & Dirik, G. Impact of a community disaster awareness training program in Turkey: does it influence hazard-related cognitions and preparedness behaviors. Soc. Behav. Personal. 33, 243–258 (2005).
Morrissey, S. & Reser, J. Evaluating the effectiveness of psychological preparedness advice in community cyclone preparedness materials. Aust. J. Emerg. Manage. 18, 46–61 (2003).
Ronan, K. R. & Johnston, D. M. Hazards education for youth: a quasi‐experimental investigation. Risk Anal. 23, 1009–1020 (2003).
Hofstede, G. Culture’s recent consequences: using dimension scores in theory and research. Int. J. Cross Cult. Manage. 1, 11–17 (2001).
Hofstede, G. Dimensionalizing cultures: the Hofstede model in context. Online Read. Psychol. Cult 2, 1–26 (2011).
Triandis, H. C. Individualism and Collectivism (Routledge, 2018).
Joffe, H. & Staerklé, C. The centrality of the self-control ethos in Western aspersions regarding outgroups: a social representational approach to stereotype content. Cult. Psychol. 13, 395–418 (2007).
Eiser, R. et al. Risk interpretation and action: a conceptual framework for responses to natural hazards. Int. J. Disast. Risk Red. 1, 5–16 (2012).
Palm, R. & Carroll, J. Illusions of Safety: Culture and Earthquake Hazard Response in California and Japan (Westview, 1998).
Paton, D., Smith, L., Johnston, D., Johnston, M. & Ronan, K. Developing a Model to Predict the Adoption of Natural Hazard Risk Reduction and Preparatory Adjustments (Earthquake Commission, 2003).
Paton, D., Smith, L. & Johnston, D. When good intentions turn bad: promoting natural hazard preparedness. Aust . J. Emerg. Manage. 20, 25–30 (2005).
Paton, D., Bajek, R., Okada, N. & McIvor, D. Predicting community earthquake preparedness: a cross-cultural comparison of Japan and New Zealand. Nat. Hazards 54, 765–781 (2010).
Joffe, H., Perez-Fuentes, G., Potts, H. W. & Rossetto, T. How to increase earthquake and home fire preparedness: the Fix-it intervention. Nat. Hazards 84, 1943–1965 (2016).
Russell, L. A., Goltz, J. D. & Bourque, L. B. Preparedness and hazard mitigation actions before and after 2 earthquakes. Environ. Behav. 27, 744–770 (1995).
Spittal, M. J., Walkey, F. H., McClure, J., Siegert, R. J. & Ballantyne, K. E. The earthquake readiness scale: the development of a valid and reliable unifactorial measure. Nat. Hazards 39, 15–29 (2006).
Michie, S., Van Stralen, M. M. & West, R. The behaviour change wheel: a new method for characterising and designing behaviour change interventions. Implement. Sci. 6, 42 (2011).
Paton, D., Okada, N. & Sagala, S. Understanding preparedness for natural hazards: cross cultural comparison. IDRiM J. 3, 18–35 (2013).
Lindell, M. & Perry, R. Household adjustment to earthquake hazard: a review of research. Environ. Behav. 32, 461–501 (2000).
Mileti, D. S. & Darlington, J. D. The role of searching in shaping reactions to earthquake risk information. Soc. Probl. 44, 89–103 (1997).
Slovic, P. The Feeling of Risk: New Perspectives on Risk Perception (Routledge, 2010).
Cohen, J. Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioural Sciences (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1988).
Department of Construction and Inspections. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms in Residences and Family Home Day Care http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Publications/CAM/cam317.pdf (City of Seattle, WA, USA, 2014).
Behaviour Change Strategies and Health: the Role of Health Systems (WHO, 2008).
McConway, K. J. H., Scott, E. M., Spiegelhalter, D. & Walton, H. Measurement and communication of health risks from pollution. in Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer on Pollution (Dalton, A. R. H. & Murphy, O., eds.) chapter 9 (2018).
Smoke Detection Devices in Dwelling Units RCW §43.44.110 http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=43.44.110 (Washington State Legislature, 1995).
Adair, J. G. The Hawthorne effect: a reconsideration of the methodological artifact. J. Appl. Psychol. 69, 334–345 (1984).
McClure, J., Sutton, R. M. & Wilson, M. How information about building design influences causal attributions for earthquake damage. Asian J. Soc. Psychol. 10, 233–242 (2007).
Heller, K., Alexander, D. B., Gatz, M., Knight, B. G. & Rose, T. Social and personal factors as predictors of earthquake preparation: the role of support provision, network discussion, negative affect, age, and education. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 35, 399–422 (2005).
Abraham, C., Sheeran, P. & Johnston, M. From health beliefs to self-regulation: theoretical advances in the psychology of action control. Psychol. Health 13, 569–591 (1998).
Bennett, P. Psychology and Health Promotion (McGraw-Hill Education, 1997).
Rubin, G. J., Potts, H. & Michie, S. The impact of communications about swine flu (influenza A H1N1v) on public responses to the outbreak: results from 36 national telephone surveys in the UK. Health Technol. Assess. 14, 183–266 (2010).
Williams, D. M., Anderson, E. S. & Winett, R. A. A review of the outcome expectancy construct in physical activity research. Ann. Behav. Med. 29, 70–79 (2005).
Groff, S., Holroyd‐Leduc, J., White, D. & Bultz, B. D. Examining the sustainability of Screening for Distress, the sixth vital sign, in two outpatient oncology clinics: a mixed‐methods study. Psycho‐Oncology 27, 141–147 (2018).
Thomas, D. S., Phillips, B. D., Lovekamp, W. E. & Fothergill, A. Social Vulnerability to Disasters (Taylor & Francis, 2013).
Schulz, K. The Really Big One. The New Yorker https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one (2015).
Michie, S., Atkins, L. & West, R. The Behaviour Change Wheel: a Guide to Designing Interventions (Silverback, 2014).
Paton, D., Anderson, E., Becker, J. & Petersen, J. Developing a comprehensive model of hazard preparedness: lessons from the Christchurch earthquake. Int. J. Disast. Risk Red. 14, 37–45 (2015).
Paton, D. Emergency planning: integrating community development, community resilience and hazard mitigation. J. Am. Soc. Prof. Emerg. Manage. 7, 109–118 (2000).
Bishop, B., Paton, D., Syme, G. & Nancarrow, B. Coping with environmental degradation: salination as a community stressor. Network 12, 1–15 (2000).
IBM Corp. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 20.0. (IBM, 2011).
StataCorp. Stata Statistical Software: Release 15. (StataCorp LLC, 2017).
This study was funded by the EPSRC grant Challenging Risk: Achieving Resilience by Integrating Societal and Technical Knowledge (EP/F012179/1). The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. The authors thank R. West for his help in the original design of the study, M. Haklay, P. Rickles and E. Verrucci for their help using geographic information systems to scope which areas to choose for the study, C. Molina-Hutt for co-running the Seattle intervention and all of the study’s participants.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Joffe, H., Potts, H.W.W., Rossetto, T. et al. The Fix-it face-to-face intervention increases multihazard household preparedness cross-culturally. Nat Hum Behav 3, 453–461 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41562-019-0563-0
Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management (2020)
A psychosocial perspective on community resilience and preparedness in the context of earthquakes in Turkey
Geological Society, London, Special Publications (2020)
International Journal of Disaster Risk Science (2019)