Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)

School

Public Health

Advisor

David Anderson

Abstract

Tornadoes are occurring with increased frequency in Oklahoma. Emergency preparedness planning is essential to decreasing individuals' risks of injury or death from a tornado. Research on immigrant Hispanics' knowledge and perceptions of emergency preparedness is limited. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and lived experiences of immigrant Hispanics who had experienced a tornado or other crisis weather conditions in Oklahoma during spring of 2013. The research questions explored their perceived risk for injury and knowledge of tornado preparedness planning. The health belief model provided the theoretical underpinnings for this qualitative phenomenological study. Semi structured interviews were conducted with a purposeful sample of 10 immigrant individuals living in and around Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Data were subjected to triangulation and analyzed to identify themes and patterns. Findings indicated that immigrant participants had experienced multiple tornadoes, routinely sought shelter during a tornado, and 50% had created a family emergency plan and supply kit because of their experience with tornadoes and perceived risk for injury. Identified barriers to preparedness planning were language barriers and lack of information on natural disaster preparedness. Recommendations included conducting public health outreach and establishing multidisciplinary partnerships within communities to provide cultural and linguistically appropriate disaster preparedness information to immigrant individuals. Findings provide public health practitioners with the ability to improve access and dissemination of preparedness planning information that may promote positive social change by decreasing immigrants' risk of injury and death.