The increase in unpredictable natural disasters events for a decade has led to put the disaster preparedness as a central issue in disaster management. Disaster preparedness greatly reduces the risk of loss lives and injuries and increases a capacity for coping when hazard occurs. Considering the value of the preparatory behavior, governments, local, national and international institutions and non-government organizations made some efforts in promoting disaster preparedness. However, although a number of resources have been expended in an effort to promote behavioral preparedness, a common finding in research on natural disaster is that people fail to take preparation for such disaster events. For example, the fact that nearly 91% of Americans live in a moderate to high risk of natural disasters, only 16% take a preparation for natural disaster.
This lack of preparation takes place in different places and involves different hazards. In the case of hurricane, only half of all respondents living in Central Florida have hurricane evacuation plan in place . Another finding revealed that only 8 percent of all respondent have prepared a disaster supplies kit in home. Scientists found that most residents in South Florida, hurricane-prone area, failed to take preparatory measures such as securing bottled water and food when storms strike. In another place and a different hazard, the result of study demonstrated the same finding. Paton and Prior (2008) studied bushfire preparation in Tasmania show that most respondents had undertaken some form of protective behavior only minimal and limited. They started to prepare after they were warned by disaster emergency services.
According to Nakagawa (2009) people are reluctant to take action by spending money and time because they perceived some disasters have low probability. Earthquake, for instance, due to difficult to predict, in many cases people tend to neglect preparing earthquake risk. In a survey in 1974, Kenny (2009) concluded that only 12 percent respondents in California households have taken action measure preventing earthquakes. However, Nakagawa (2009) also noted that although people living in frequently natural disaster such as floods and typhoons, they do not take a proper action. For example, only 10% people had evacuated to safer locations when the Tokage typhoon hit Japan, in Toyooka city.
Some argued that level of preparedness is most likely affected by direct experience of the disaster (Tierney, 1993). But even for people who have been directly experiencing such a hazard, governments is often frustrated to convince people to take a proper action before, during and after disaster. For illustration, 91% (2.682 persons) from 2 sub-districts in Indonesia destroyed by Merapi volcano in 2010 rejected to move to other places provided by government (Pikiran Rakyat, 2011). According to the World Bank, after the Turkey earthquake, households that willing to pay for earthquake-proof retrofitting was low although the government provided subsidized credit (Kenny, 2009).
Obviously, the role of government and other stakeholders is critical in promoting citizens’ preparedness on disaster. Unfortunately, such findings discussed above demonstrated that some public education aimed at increasing awareness, level of knowledge and correcting the risk perception have a little success in adopting protective behaviour. Praeter and Lindell noted that In the US, public campaigns through information on disaster risk resulted little impact on protective behavior (Kenny, 2009). According to Coppola and Maloney (2009), the current approach in promoting preparedness through different and various interventions are ineffective. The result of study by Shaw (2004) showed that a school education on disaster contribute to develop the knowledge and perception of earthquake disaster but limited for earthquake preparedness.
There are several factors why public awareness programs gained little success in promoting protective behaviours. Eisner identified that some reasons why risk communication often fail to address such problems due to limited of budget, performance problems and timing (Coppola, 2006). Paton and Prior (2008) criticized the development of risk communication that did not take into account the local characteristics. Risk information is often created in the form of general information through both printed and audio media.
The fact that individual is differ in characteristics, perceptions, understanding and psychological situation. There is also concerned that risk communication often fail to attract people’s mind that potential hazard is more important than daily problems (criminal, health care, employment) faced by community. It is worth noting that the failure of most intervention in promoting health behavior because of not using behavioral theory as the basis of their intervention (Jones, et.al, 2004).
Given that promoting behavior in the public health and disaster preparedness field has a similar characteristic, this study will focus on the need of adoption of behavioral theory-based intervention for disaster preparedness drawn from the success of the public health and other sectors (Coppola and Maloney, 2009). This study will be based on theory of planned behavior (TPB)-based persuasive communication (Ajzen, 1992). TPB states that the best predictor of behavior is intention to behavior. Intention determined by attitude, subjective norms and perceived behavioral control (PBC).
PBC also determine directly the actual behavior. Any intervention (persuasive communication) that can change the belief/attitude toward behavior, normative belief, and control belief will change intention and in turn change behavior. In developing better persuasive messages some frameworks will be used such as argumentative message (Ajzen, 1992), offer specific solution/recommendation (Witte, 1995), multiple mediums (Clerveaux, Katada and Hosi, 2008; Rogers, 1983) and considering socio cultural context of the community (Sagala &ump; Okada, 2009).
By using this approach, it implies that by intervening community with the various means of communication (printed media, audio media, community activities and others) it will increase community awareness, knowledge about risk, level of preparedness, better risk perception and in turn adjusting behavior toward protective behavior. I think that we should start to better ourselves in case of emergency. You never know what to expect and when. One minute you are sitting in your living room enjoying a big bowl of cereal and watching your childs favorite cartoon, the next there is a F 5 Tornado roaring through your bathroom. In order to save the lives of hundreds of others we must prepare ourselves. (natural disasters)