Assess disparities in disaster preparedness i

ANAHEIM, Calif.A pilot epidemiological study aimed at characterizing disparities in pediatric household preparedness for wildfire-related disasters and identifying education strategies for this population revealed that racial, educational, and demographic inequalities exist in household preparedness for wildfire-related disasters. emergencies and forest fires.

In contrast, having a child with an underlying respiratory condition increased household preparedness for wildfires.

The study “Characterizing Disparities in Pediatric Household Preparedness for Wildfire Disasters” came after a record year of wildfires in 2020 that scorched millions of acres in California. Children are extremely vulnerable during disasters because they are often dependent on others for care, may not understand danger or how to protect themselves developmentally, and are especially susceptible to pollutants in wildfire smoke. The authors found that there are disparities in how prepared individual households are for wildfires and for reducing exposure to wildfire smoke. Many of these disparities hit the least educated communities or minority populations the hardest.

Cross-sectional surveys and qualitative interviews were used by the researchers with parents or caregivers seeking care at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Less educated caregivers (defined as having only a high school education or less) were 97% less likely to report having taken steps to prepare for wildfires and 76% less likely to have preparedness based on action compared to more educated caregivers.

The study also found that households were less likely to be prepared if they were multiracial or of Hispanic/Latino race, had no home insurance, or had a lack of trust in local authorities to help in the event. forest fire. Households were more likely to be prepared if they had a child with a respiratory problem.

“Previous studies have shown that minority and low socioeconomic populations are disproportionately affected during disasters,” said Dr. Natasha Gill, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California and lead author of the study. “We also know that wildfires and exposure to pollutants in wildfire smoke can cause serious respiratory problems, especially in children. No matter a child’s socioeconomic or racial background, we want all children to stay healthy and safe during wildfire disasters. This study shows that there are disparities in wildfire preparedness among households with children. If we can find a culturally appropriate way to educate families on how to prepare their homes for wildfire-related disasters, we can promote resilience and improve health outcomes during these unpredictable events.

Wildfires are unpredictable and are becoming more frequent and destructive around the world. Knowing that wildfires disproportionately affect resource-limited areas and minority populations, children in these communities are at the greatest risk of not only poor health outcomes, but also loss of housing, displacement and long-term mental health issues.

Future studies are needed to create standardized, culturally sensitive, low-literacy educational materials and toolkits to prepare these at-risk populations for wildfire disasters, the authors recommend.

Dr. Natasha Gill is scheduled to present a summary of the study, available below, from 12:35 p.m. to 1 p.m. PT Monday, October 10 during the Council Session on Children and Disasters at the Anaheim Convention Center, 263AB. To request an interview with Dr. Gill or another abstract author, journalists can contact Dr. Gill at [email protected] or Ellin Kavanagh at [email protected]

Please note: Only the abstract is presented at the meeting. In some cases, the researcher may have more data to share with the media or may be preparing a longer article to submit to a journal.

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Program name: 2022 National AAP Conference and Exhibition

Title of abstract: Characterizing disparities in pediatric household preparedness for wildfire disasters

Natacha Gill

United States


Climate change has increased the threat of more frequent and destructive wildfires. Wildfires disproportionately affect minority and socio-economically disadvantaged communities and increase respiratory morbidity, especially among children. Although health disparities among minority children are likely to be exacerbated during wildfires, limited studies describe this phenomenon. This study aims to characterize disparities in pediatric household preparedness for wildfire-related disasters and identify targeted education and dissemination strategies for this population.

Data were obtained using a novel questionnaire and a semi-structured interview administered in real time to English- or Spanish-speaking caregivers (n=70) presenting to a pediatric emergency department in southern California that serves large minority populations and high-risk patients. areas. Each investigative tool has been reviewed by subject matter experts and tested with real patients for content, comprehension and literacy prior to data collection. Logistic regression models and Fisher’s exact test were used to assess the gross association between household/child demographic characteristics, socioeconomic factors and the following outcomes: [1] Resource-Based Preparation (RBP: Summary of Thirteen Material-Related Questions); [2] Action-Based Preparedness (ABP: summary of five action-related questions); [3] Overall preparation (OP: summary [1] and [2]); and [4] Preferred delivery mode and format for wildfire preparedness education. A household was considered prepared if 50% or more of the criteria were declared.

Overall, 71.6% of households reported OP, but were more likely to have RBP (80.9%) than ABP (25%) [Table 1]. Households were less likely to be prepared if they reported an annual income of less than $75,000 (OP $30,000 to $49,999: odds ratio (OR) 0.04 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0, 0.97]), less than college education (ABP bachelor’s degree or less: 0.17 [0.03, 0.8]), or young age (ABP: 0.06 [0.01, 0.54]) compared to those aged 50 and older, but not all results were significant. Caregivers were more likely to be prepared if a household had two children (OP: 3.95 [1.03, 15.37]), a child with seasonal allergies (RBP: 5.50 [1.24, 24.35]; PO 4.79 [1.43, 16.08]), or the reported air quality was important for children’s health (GPI: 5.42 [1.15, 25.59]). All households with home insurance declared RBP (p.001) and 85.2% declared OP (p = 0.04) [Table 2]. Among the households declaring not to have home insurance, 90% did not have ABP (p=0.001). All households with a child with a chronic illness or prescription medication approved RBP (p=0.006 and p.0016, respectively) and OP (p=0.0003 and p

One clear and identifiable issue of environmental health disparities is children’s preparedness for wildfires. Further studies are needed to create targeted strategies with standardized wildfire preparedness.

Table 1: Demographics, prevalence, and raw odds ratios for resource-based, action-based, and comprehensive pediatric household preparedness for wildfire-related disasters: pilot questionnaire, 2021-2022 (N=70)

Table 2: Associations between demographic factors and resource-based, action-based, and overall pediatric household preparedness for wildfire using Fisher’s exact test: pilot questionnaire, 2021-2022 (N=70 )