Emergency preparedness steps taken by individuals in Utah households were evaluated in 3 studies. Study 1 evaluated the 2011 landline and cell phone Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey and General Preparedness Optional Module results from two states, Louisiana and Utah, to find factors from demographic and medical data that can be used to predict emergency preparedness in individuals. Stepwise logistical regression analysis ascertained the ability of chosen variables to predict individuals' preparedness. The rate of prepared individuals was lower if they were between the ages of 18 to 54 years, when compared to the reference age group of 65 or older. Also, the rate of prepared participants was lower if they were female, had children under age 18 at home, or were unable to afford a doctor in the past year. Rate of prepared respondents was higher if they owned a home or were married (p <0.05). Study 2 evaluated water stored for emergency purposes in households throughout Utah for coliform, E. coli, free chlorine, and antimony. Ninety one percent of the stored water samples were found to be safe for human consumption. However, 9% of water samples were not considered safe due to over chlorination or the presence of coliform. Of 240 samples, 7 contained coliform and 14 samples had total chlorine levels over the Environmental Protection Agency's 4 ppm limit. Water in clear, polyethylene terephthalate soda bottles, even when stored for >18 months, did not exceed 0.3 ppb antimony, a level significantly lower than the Environmental Protection Agency limit of 6.0 ppb antimony. Study 3 measured for one year the temperature and humidity of food storage areas in 67 households within Utah. In 63% of locations, temperatures exceeded 24 °C, which can be considered abusive for food storage. The maximum temperature reached in a food storage area was 37.9 °C. Percent relative humidity exceeded 60% in 43% of food storage areas, which can be considered abusive for food stored in packaging permeable to moisture. The maximum percent relative humidity reached was 92.5%. In conclusion, most water stored for emergency purposes was considered safe, but temperature and humidity conditions for most food storage areas exceeded recommended maximums, and emergency preparedness of households within Utah needs to be improved.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Science
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Gerla, Stephanie Rae, "Emergency Preparedness in Utah Households with Emphasis on Water and Food Storage Conditions" (2013). All Theses and Dissertations. 3934.
BRFSS survey, residential food storage, storage environment, water safety