Social Location and Self-Protective Behavior: Implications for Earthquake Preparedness

November 1993 (VOL. 11, NO. 3)

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Participation in household preparedness activities is examined in light of the first highly publicized earthquake prediction issued for the Central United States. Drawing on earlier research conducted in California, this paper examines the adoption of self-protective measures in Memphis, Tennessee. Survey data show that while people in this city are generally aware of and concerned about the earthquake hazard in their community, few have adopted the necessary precautions to reduce the negative effects of a damaging earthquake. However, those respondents who were most likely to engage in self-protective behavior are situated in structurally advantageous locations. Thus, future community-wide planning and preparedness efforts must be more attentive to limitations on household resources when advocating individual responsibility for safety.