Residential loss and displacement among survivors of the 1993 Altadena fire

Residential loss and displacement among survivors of the 1993 Altadena fire

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Residential loss and displacement among survivors of the 1993 Altadena fire
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Quick response research report ;
Gordon, Norma S., 1926-
University of Colorado, Boulder -- Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
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Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
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13, [2] p. : ; 28 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Wildfires -- California -- Altadena ( lcsh )
Disasters -- Psychological aspects ( lcsh )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent) ( marcgt )
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (p. [14-15]).
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Norma S. Gordon ... [et al.].

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Residential loss and displacement among survivors of the 1993 Altadena fire
h [electronic resource] /
Norma S. Gordon ... [et al.].
Boulder, Colo. :
b Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center,
13, [2] p. ;
28 cm.
Quick response research report ;
v #73
Includes bibliographical references (p. [14-15]).
Electronic reproduction.
[Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Libraries,
d 2008].
n Digitized from copy owned by Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, in a joint project with the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) Research Library's disaster mental health initiative.
z California
x Psychological aspects.
1 700
Gordon, Norma S.,
2 710
University of Colorado, Boulder.
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center.
w (OCoLC)32359574
t Natural Hazards Center Collection
4 856


NaturalHazards ResearchandApplications InformationCenterCampus Box482UniversityofColorado Boulder, Colorado 80309..Q482I!s.*:u-ti.e,y-lUit11,&tibr;uj' RESIDENTIALwssAND DISPLACEl\t1ENT AMONGSURVIVORSOFTHE1993ALTADENA FIRE lJAZA DHOUSE CQeYBy Norma S. Gordon, Carl A. Maida, Norrna.'1 L.Farberow, and Linda FidellQUICKRESPONSE RESEARCHREPORT#731994The views expressedinthis report are thoseofthe authors and not necessarily thoseofthe Natural Hazards Centerorthe UniversityofColorado.InstituteofBehavioral Science#6 (30J) 492Telefax: (303)492.2151Internet: hazctr@Colorado.EDU:c N ;;:0o :r: o c:o -0 -<


RESIDENTIAL LOSS AND DISPLACEMENT AMONG SURVIVORSOFTHE1993ALTADENAFIRENormaS.Gordon,M.AThe Public Health FoundationcarlA Maida, Ph.D. University of california, Los Angeles NormanL.Farberow, Ph.D. UniversityofSouthern california Linda Fidell, Ph.D. california State University, Northridge


The EventFortwo weeks in the fallof1993, wildfires devastated numerous Southern California hillside and canyon communities. The worstofthe fires occurred on October 27, 1993 in the foothillsofthe San Gabriel Mountains northeastofLos Angeles where homes are built on rural landscapes near brush lands with a historyoffire.Byautumn, these areas were dense with foliage, causedbyheavy spring rains, that were driedoutbymonthsofsummer drought. More than 2100 firefighters were mobilized to subdue the firestorm in record-breaking90degree temperatures. They tried dropping water and fire retardant from helicopters to halt its spread but lost controlofthe blaze whichwasbeing fannedby60 mile an hour Santa Ana winds from the northeast. Residents stood on their roofs with garden hoses and even pumped water from their swimming pools, but all eventually had to flee their neighborhoods. The fires destroyed 5700 acres and'121homes in the communitiesofAltadena and Sierra Madre. Twenty-nine firefighters and 9 residents sustained minor injuries. Over 2500 residents from 500 homes were evacuated to four shelters in the Greater Pasadena area. When they returned to their neighborhoods, they found only "the blackened pileofash and melted, twisted rubble thatwastheir home and possessions." They faced the taskofreconstruction without the securityoftheir homes and cherished personal objects, and lacking the familiar routines that had comprised their everyday lives. The Study We conducted an interview studyof24individuals residing in the Altadena area who either lost their homesorwhose homes were threatenedbythe fire but were not totally destroyed. We explored the following issues: 1) the effectofloss, damage and threatened loss on the psychological stateoffire victims, 2) the effectoffire preparedness on victim response, and 3) the impactofthe media on coping behavior.1


Study Instruments The major instruments used in this study were:1.The Beck Depression Scale (BecketaL,1961);2.The ImpactofEvent Scale (HorowitzetaL,1979);3.The Wichita Falls Victim Interview Schedule (Bolin, 1980);4.The Whittier Narrows Parent-Child Interview Schedule (MaidaetaL,1993); and,S. The Tug Fork Survey (Motz etaL,1980). Developmentofthe Sample We developed a sample through the StateofCalifornia OfficeofEmergency Services and local government agencies. We also developed a press release whichwassent to the Los Angeles Times, Pasadena Star-News and other local print and electronic media. We mailed and distributed notices soliciting study respondents to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Red Cross, the DAC and community homeowners associations in the fire zone. Interviewer Training and Data Collection We selected the interviewers, and conducted an orientation at the officesofthe CityofPasadena Health Department. The interviews were conductedbythree trained interviewers. Interviews were conducted during January, February and March, a period which included the anticipated onsetofmore severe post-traumatic stress symptoms. Manyofthe interviews were conducted at the Pasadena Health Department offices; and others were held at the respondents' temporaryorpermanent residences. Results Sociodemographic CharacteristicsThestudy population consistedof24individuals, mostofwhom responded to a mailing. Others were contacted through referralbythose interviewed. The low response in recruiting the sampleisconsistent with the experience reportedbyresearchers conducting similar studies. 2


Twenty-oneofthe respondents were Caucasian, onewasAfrican-American, and two were AsianJPacific Islanders; the average agewas52.We interviewed15women and 9 men. The educational levelofthis group averaged 15.2 years;twocompleted high school, 8 had some college, 7 completed college, and 5 had advanced work. Households averaged2.3members. The employment statusofthe sample consistedof19(79%) employed persons.Fourrespondents were never married,17were married, and 3 were divorced. Four respondents were living alone,13families had 2 members, 7 families had between 3 and 5 members. The sample represents a residentially stable population with a mean lengthofresidence in the communityof15.2 years, and12.6years in the home that the respondent lived in at the timeofthe fire. Nineteen (79%) were ownersofthe residential units involved in the fire; 4 (17%) were renters, and 1 (4%)'other.'The income levelofthe respondentswas:under $30,000 (4%), $30,000-$40,000 (12.5%), $40,000-$50,000 (4%), $50,000-$70,000 (21%), $70,000-$80,000 (21%), $80,000-$100,000 (12.5%), $100,000+ (25%). Sixty-three percentofthe sample were Protestant, 12% were Jewish,8%were Catholic, and 17% either practiced another formofreligionorwere not religiously affiliated. Twenty-nine percentofthe respondents reported that religionwasvery important, 38% considereditsomewhat important, and 33% attributed littleorno importance to it. 3


Depressive Symptoms Table I presents arankorderofdepressive symptoms as measuredbytheBeck Depression Scale.Theaverage scoreontheDepression Scalewas.54(sd=.58); the rangewas0to2.32.Table I Symptoms Average Feeling blue 1.50 Feeling tense orkeyed up 1.46 Nervousnessor shakiI)ess inside 1.04 Feeling so restless you couldn't sit still.96Feeling no interest in things .92 Feeling lonely .75 Feeling hopelessaboutthefuture .67 Feeling fearful .54 Feelingsofworthlessness .42 Faintnessordizziness .33 Pains in heartorchest .29 Nauseaorupset stomach .29 Trouble getting your breath .29 Being suddenly scared for no reason.25Feeling weak in partsofyour body .21 Spellsofterrororpanic .21 Thoughtsofending your life.08Hotorcold spells.08Numbnessortingling in partofyourbody.04TheImpactofEvent Scale Table II presents a rank orderingofmean scores for the ImpactofEventScale for the respondents.Theinstrument is scoredona Likert Scale with "rarely' weighted I, and "often" weighted4.Themean scoreontheImpactofEvents Scale for this samplewas1.90 (sd =.61); range 1.07 to 3.4. 4


Table II Rank orderingofmean scores for ImpactofEvent Scale Items ili =24) Item Average Any reminder brings back feelings about it2.71Other things keep making me think about it 2.58 Picturesofit pop intomymind 2.50 I think about it when I don't mean to 2.42 I have wavesofstrong feelings about it 2.08Myfeelings about it are kindofnumb 2.00 I have dreams about it 1.87 I am aware that I still have a lotoffeelings about it, but don't deal with 1.79 them I have trouble falling and staying asleep 1.79 I avoid letting myself get upset, even when I think about itoram 1.75 remindedofit I try not to think about it 1.58 I feelasifit hadn't happenedorit wasn't real 1.50 I try to remove it frommymemory 1.38 I try not to talk about it 1.33 I stayawayfrom remindersofit 1.25 Selected Responses to Additional Questions Additional findings penaining to selected items from the questionnaire were the following. Personal and Household Harm Twenty-two (92%)ofthe respondents reported that their homes were damaged as a resultofthe fire.Ofthose damaged,18(76%) homes were completely destroyed, 1(5%)wasseverely damaged, and 3 (14%) reportedwa little damage.WMild injuries were reportedby3 respondents, 2 to the respondents themselves, and 1 to the adult partnerofthe respondent5


Residential Displacement Twenty-three (96%)ofthe respondents were forced to evacuate their homes; 10 stayedbythemselves, 8 with relatives, 4 with friends, and 1 took refuge in a church. At the timeoftheir interviews, 19 (79%)ofthe respondents were still not living in their pre-fire homes. Twenty-two (92%)ofthe respondents had to take time off from workorschool becauseofthe fire. AttributionofBlame Blame fell into two major categories: uncontrollable, unpredictable natural causes; and preventable human cause, suchasthe community and its fire-fighting resources which were deemed inadequate. Thus,12blamed natural causes while11blamed a homeless transient who had been identified as the possible inadvertent cause. In addition, 6 respondents blamed the fire department, 4 blamed low water pressure and 2 blamed their neighbors for their failure to clean up the brush around their houses. Numbers will add to more than 24 because some respondents attributed blame to more than one cause. Firefighter Effectiveness Fewer than half (41%)ofthe respondents felt dissatisfied with the firefighters' efforts to combat the fire, while the rest (59%) felt they did a commendable job under very difficult conditions. In response to a question about the effectivenessoffirefighters' efforts against the fire, 7 (29%)ofthe respondents stated that they were very effective, 3 (12%) somewhat effective, 3 (12%) fairly ineffective, and11(46%) very ineffective. Twelve (50%) respondents stated that decisionsoractionsofthe firefighters made the damage worse,10(42%) stated that firefighters were not responsible for the extentofthe damage to their homes, and 2 (8%) had no opinion. Fire Protection EffortsTheresidents in these hillside communitiesknewfrom experience and from information disseminated to them that they were living in a high-risk fire area. When asked to describe what measures they themselves had taken to protect their house and property prior to the fire, 16 (67%) reported they had installed fire-resistantor non-combustible roofing materials, 16 (67%) used stuccoorbrick exteriororinstalled fire-retarding undersiding for wood exterior, 14 (58%) kept 30 feet around the home clearofhighly flammable vegetation, 3 (12%) eliminated roof eaves, 3 (12%)used6


dual-panel windows and sliding doorsorshutters, 2 (8%) enclosed the undersidesofbalconies and decks onslopes with fire-retardant materials, and 2 (8%) installed indoor sprinklers.Atthe timeofthe fire, 13 (54%) reported they used garden hoses, sprinklers and pool water inanattemptto prevent lossordamage to their homes, 3 (12%) raked and removed dry leaves near their homes and 10 (42%) did nothingatall.Assome respondents reported taking more thanoneaction, results total more than 100%. Most respondents (two-thirds) felt they had done as much as possible to prevent the damageorloss experienced. When asked whether anyone else could have done anything to keep the fire from doing that much damage, 6 (25%)ofthe respondents said "yes: 16 (67%) saidwno : and 2 (8%) had no opinion. SourcesofInformation Respondents reported a numberofsources from which they gained information about the fire. Thirteen (54%) mentioned neighbors, 10 (42%) first-hand experience, 5 (21%)friends, 4 (17%) relatives, 4 (17%) television, 3(12%) radio, and 2 (8%) newspapers. Numbers will add to more than 100% because some respondents mentioned more than one source. Media Coverage In response to a question about how media reported the event, 16 (67%) felt the mediawassympathetic to the victims, 3 (12%) thought the media was critical, and 5 (21 %) had no opinion. Residential Attachment Respondents reported a mean lengthofresidence in the communityof15.2 years, and 12.6 years in the home that they lived in at the timeofthe fire. When asked about their satisfaction with their neighborhood, 19 (79%)ofthe respondents were very satisfied, 4 (17%) somewhat satisfied and 1 (4%) not satisfied with living in the neighborhood. When asked how they would feel if they were forcedtoleave their neighborhood, 16 (67%)ofthe respondents would very muchmisstheneighborhood,4(17%) would miss it somewhat, 3 (12%) not very much, and 1 (4%) notatall. Before the fire, 7 (29%)ofthe respondents had considered relocating from the community. After the fire, 8 (33%) would consider leaving if they could find a home inanotherlocation where therewasa lower riskofdisasters. Those wanting to remain in the community stated that they were7


panicularly attracted to the natural surroundings(71%) and liked the neighborhoodorcommunity itself (46%). Because some respondents gave more than one reason for their residential satisfaction, responses totalmore than 100%. Eighteen (75%)ofthe respondents reponed having been friendly with their neighbors in the past.Founeen(58%) stated that their neighbors had been helpful at the timeofthe fire. Neighbors provided actual assistanceatthe timeofthe fire itself (29%), and material help (42%) and emotionalsuppon(29%) in the aftermath. Some respondents reponed receiving more than one formofsuppon, therefore results total more than 100%. When asked whether they had discussed with their families the possibilityofleaving Southern California becauseofthe threatofdisasters, 9 (38%)ofthose interviewed said they had. When asked their opinion regarding the likelihoodofanother major fire striking their community in the nextfewmonths,23 (96%) felt itwasvery unlikely, with 8ofthese respondents adding thatWthereisnothing left to bum. W Preparedness When asked to evaluate their own levelofpreparedness to deal with the fire, 7 (29%)ofthe respondents reponed being well-prepared, 6 (25%) somewhat prepared, 4(17%) fairly unprepared, and 7(29%) very unprepared. When asked to evaluate their neighbors' levelofpreparedness, 6 (25%) stated that they were somewhat prepared, 7 (29%) fairly unprepared, 9 (38%) very unprepared, and 2 (8%) offered no opinion. When asked to evaluate the levelofpreparednessofpublic officials and governmental agencies,8 (33%) stated that they were well-prepared, 7 (29%) somewhat prepared, 6 (25%) fairly unprepared, and 3 (13%) very unprepared. KnowledgeofHelp and Help-Seeking Most respondents were awareofthe many community resources offering information and assistance to fire victims. The following services were most often identified: The Red Cross (71%), Disaster Assistance Center (54%), municipal services (25%), counseling (17%), housing assistance8


(17%). In addition, respondents mentioned11different non-governmental resources and 7 different state and federal governmental resources for fire victims. Help Obtained Most respondents indicated that they had obtained assistance from the following disaster services:TheRedCross (54%), non-governmental services (54%), Disaster Assistance Center (38%), state and federal government services (38%), municipal services (8%), counseling (8%), and housing assistance (4%). When asked their opinion regarding what other services were needed, 8 (33%) felt they would have liked to see more immediate help from municipal service agencies thanwasoffered during the fire, 6 (25%) felt that nothing morewasrequired,10(42%) offered no opinion. Nearly all (96%)ofthose interviewed reported talking about their feelings about the fire. Their confidants were family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, ministers and even news reporters. Fouroutoffive(83%) indicated that talking about their feelingswashelpful to them. Noneofthe respondentsormembersoftheir immediate families reported that they had sought formal psychological counseling as a resultofthe fire. ComparisonofSubjectsbyExposure to the Event Two groups were formed from our sample on the basisofexposure to the event, namely those who were in the fire area when the fire occurred and who witnessedorwere involved in fighting the fire, 19 people (79%), and those who were outofthe area, 5 people (21%). The latter, however, saw and read about the fire in the media. As confirmedbyFisher's Exact Test, those who were physically exposed and were not physically exposed to the fire did not differ demographically in such factorsasnumberoffamily members, education, marital status, income, ethnicity, gender,orcurrent employmenL Analysisofvariancewasusedto compare the two groupsonthe Beck Depression Inventory (emotional distress) andonthe ImpactofEvent Scale (stress reactions). No significant mean differences were found for either scale. Mean differences between the two group were further testedonthe subscalesofTheImpactofEvent measure, Intrusive Thinking (7 items) and Avoidance (8 items). Again, no significant mean differences were found.9


ComparisonofSubjectsbyExtentofLossofResidenceTheentire samplewasagain divided into two groups on the basisoflossofresidence and compared for significant differences in selected variables. The first groupwascomprisedofthe 19 individuals who had suffered complete (18)orsevere (1) destruction to their home, while the second groupof5 individuals had experienced only minor (2)orno (3) damage. While demographically therewasa significant difference in ethnicity for the group that suffered loss versus the group that did not suffer loss (Fisher's Exact Probability=.(05), noneofthe three non-Caucasian respondents suffered completeorsevere lossofhome. Ethnicity itselfwasunrelated to either the ImpactofEvent Scaleorthe Beck Depression Scale. Comparisonofthe means on the Beck Depression Scale for the group who did and the group who did not suffer completeorseveredamage to their homes yielded no significant mean differences. In fact, the19people who suffered lossofhome had a slightly lower average depression score than the 5 who did not suffer lossofhome. Comparisonofmeansofthe two groups for significant differences on the overall ImpactofEvent scale and on its Avoidance and Intrusive Thinking subscaleswascarried out using analysisofvariance. No significant mean differences were found on the overall scale nor on eitherofthetwosubscales. However, Levene's test for variances revealed a significant difference in variances on the Avoidance subscale, with those who suffered losses showing more variability in their scores. When this differencewasconsidered using the Welch test, a significant mean differencewasfound. The loss group showed more variabilityaswell as a Slightly higher mean score on the Avoidance subscale(N=1.7) than those who did not suffer loss (N=1.2). Discussion Interpretationofthe resultsofthis empirical investigation are limited to this small sampleofthe total population affectedbythe firestorms in Southern California in the fallof1993.Tobeginwith, itisvery small, with only24ofmore than 2500 residents whose homes were lostorseverely damaged; and next, itismade upofresidents who went outoftheirwayto volunteer their time and went to some trouble to arrange their interviews. Thus, they were highly motivated and highly cooperative. The sociodemographic data indicate that our sampleisrelatively upper middle-class and above, with almost 80% earning $50,000 and up, and educationally, with over 75% indicating at least10


some college, and 50% reporting completing college and beyond. Also, mostofthe residents (79%) owned theirownhomes. These sociodemographic make it difficult to compare our results with thoseofother studies investigating similar psychosocial aspectsofdisastersbutwith much different sociodemographic characteristics. Comparisons with other studies are therefore made cautiously, with awarenessofthe possible contributions to the resultsofthe differences in the population samples studied.Onestriking differenceisin the relatively low levelofemotional and stress reactions in our sample compared with the levels reported in other similar studies. The average scoreofless than one (.54) on the Beck Depression Scale means that the respondents in this study in general reported mostofthe symptoms as absentorinfrequently experienced. The rangeofthe mean scores for each item extends only to 2.32, which indicates that relativelyfewrespondents felt a recognizable amount of someofthe individual symptoms that make up the syndromeofdepression. A glance at those items with the highest mean scores indicates the most commonly reported feelings wereofexcitement, sadness and loss, feelings that are quite normal and tobeexpected in reacting to a catastrophe. Further supporting the conclusion that severe emotional distresswaslimited amongourrespondents is the fact that the lowest mean scores on anyofthe individual itemsofthe Beck scale were those indicating possible psychopathologyorsevere depressive feelings, suchasthoughtsofsuicide, spellsofterror,orvague bodily feelingsofnumbnessortingling. These resultsofourstudy are in marked contrast with those reportedbyother investigators (Maida etaI.,1989;Richard, 1974; Milne,1977;Bolin, 1982), who have described increased levelsofsleep disturbances, jumpiness, lossofappetite, and general lethargy in their sample studies. Similarly, minimal stress reactions were reportedbyoursample. The ImpactofEvent Scale mean scoreof1.90 indicates that, on the average, the respondents reported -rarely" being disturbedbymemoriesorfeelings about the eventoroftrying to avoid recollectionsofitThe rankings of individual reactions indicate that while intrusive thoughts and feelings were most commonly experienced, they still occurred only infrequently on average,while the least common reactions were avoidance maneuvers, suchastrying not to talk about the fire, trying to remove it from their memories,ortrying to stayawayfrom remindersofthe event.11


Manyofthe items in the ImpactofEvent Scale are similar to symptoms describing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Other studiesofdisasters have reported that PTSDwascommon in victimsofdisasters (Richard,1974;Milne, 1977; Bolin, 1982).Ourrespondents did not report such reactions as jumpiness, lossofappetite, general lethargyortrouble concentrating.Onespecific symptom illustrates clearly the difference in reactionofthe different populations studied. In a studyofthe reactionsofvictimsofthe Baldwin Hills fire which destroyed 50 homes in theLosAngeles in July, 1985, the dominant symptoms reported were sleep disturbances (also reportedbyPrice, 1978;Flynnand Chalmers,1980;Bolin, 1982).Inour study, sleep disturbances were rarely reported and were ranked 9th (outof15) on the listofreactions on the ImpactofEvent Scale. Another difference worth noting between the resultsofourpresent study and thoseofthe Baldwin Hills fireisthat no significant differences in emotional distress and feelingsofstress were found between those who had been exposedorwere present for the fire and those who had not, nor for those who had suffered major lossordamage compared with those who had suffered only minororno damage. The victims who had been present in the Baldwin Hills fire reported persistent, intrusive thoughts.InourAltadena sample, no significant differences between the two groups were found. The Baldwin Hills fire victims who had suffered completeorsevere damage also reported many more depressive reactions and stress symptomatology than those who did not. Again,ourstudy showed no significant differences between thetwogroups. Reasons for the differences between the resultsofthe two studiesofvictimsofdevastating fires,ourcurrent studyofthe Altadena fire and the Baldwin Hills fire, are difficult to find. One area examinedwasthe sociodemograpbic characteristicsofthe two sample populations. However, differences between the two groups were minimal. For example, they were similar in mean age (57 in Baldwin Hillsvs.52 in Altadena); sex (14 women,11menvs.15women, 9 men); education (15.6 yearsvs.15.2 years); household members (2.7vs.2.3); mean lengthofresidence (15 yearsvs.15.2 years); and employed fulland part-time (76%vs.79%). The major differencewasethnicity, with all the respondents African-American homeowners in the Baldwin Hills sample, and21ofthe 24 respondents in the Altadena sample Caucasian, along with 2 AsianJPacific Islander and only one12


African-American. However, both populations were considered stable, long-time homeowners, and middle to upper middle-class.Onemajor difference does lie in the locationofthe fires. Baldwin Hillsislocated within the urban area, where streets and pavements have been long-established, street lamps lighted the area, and the typically suburban developmentwasofrowsofmoderately expensive homes. Altadenaisoneof the border suburban areasofLosAngeles, with manyofits homes built into thehillsand canyons that encircle the city in the north. The surroundings are rugged and the terrain mountainous, filled with trees and brush. Although the homes are separate and nestled into strategic spots in the hills, the senseofcommunityisstrong in the Altadena sample. The residents were longtime homeowners who, for the most part, loved their isolated locations in the rugged hills.Ifthey had to leave they stated they would be unhappy and would miss their surroundings. Even after suffering such major losses, the number who said they might consider leaving the area increasedbyonly one (from 7to8) among those who said they hadatonetime considered leaving. A senseofcommunitywasalso evident from their responses that most (75%) had been friendly with their neighbors, that they had found their neighbors helpful (58%), both actually (29%), materially (42%) and emotionally (29%). Even though they felt somewhat criticaloftheir neighbors' effort at preparedness for a possible fire, with only 25% estimating that their neighbors were well-prepared, while 76% were either only fairly (29%),orvery (38%) unprepared, there were practically no expressionsofangerorrecriminations voiced against their neighbors. They also felt that the government and community officials had been well aware of their needs in the caseoffire, with most (62%) respondents rating themeitherwell (33%)orsomewhat (29%) prepared, while the rest (38%) were rated fairly (25%)orvery (13%) unprepared. While the possibilityofa connection between the degreeofpsychological distress and emotional problems and the levelofcommunity spirit seems rational and makes good clinical sense in termsofthe feelingofconcern and mutual sharingofa traumatic experience, the evidence for itisonly suggested inourstudy. Obviously, thereisneed for further research with investigation data relevant to the question as an integral aspectofthe data obtained.13


Acknowledgments This studywassupportedbya grant from the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, the National Science Foundation and the National InstituteofMental Health. The authors gratefully acknowledge the assistance of: Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Inc.; Lisa Beam, Rebecca Leicester, and Jillian Pinsker who conducted the interviews; Deputy Fire ChiefJ.Corbettofthe Los Angeles County Fire Department; CoryLaBiancaofthe Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Field OfficeinPasadena, CA; JacquelineE.Stiffofthe Pasadena Health Department; Patricia MendozaofProject Rebound Firestonns at the Los Angeles County DepartmentofMental Health; and David Weiseofthe USDA Forest Service in Riverside, California. References Beck,AT.,Ward,c.H.,Mendelson,M.,Mock, J., and Erbaugh,J.(1%1). An Inventory for Measuring Depression. Arc Gen Psychiatry4:561-571. Bolin,R.(1982). Long Term Family Recovery from Disaster. Boulder, CO: UniversityofColorado, InstituteofBehavioral Science. Bolin,R.(1980). Families in Natural Disaster: The Vernon andWichita Falls Tornadoes. Family Recovery Project Interim Report. DepartmentofSociology and Anthropology.LasCruces: New Mexico State University. Flynn,C.and Chambers,J.A(1980). The Social and Economic Effectsofthe Accident at Three Mile Island: Findings to Date. OfficeofNuclear Regulatory Research, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. Horowitz,M.,Wilner,N.,and Alvarez,W.(1979). ImpactofEvent Scale: A MeasureofSubjective Stress. Psychsom Med41:209-218.


Maida,C.A,Gordon, N.S., Steinberg,A,and Gordon, G. (1989) Psychosocial ImpactofDisasters: Victimsofthe Baldwin Hills Fire.JTraumatic Stress2: 37-48. Maida,C.A,Gordon, N.S., and Strauss, G. (1993). Child and Parent Reactions to the Los Angeles Area Whittier Narrows Earthquake.JSoc Beh and Personality8:421-436. Milne, G. (1977). Cyclone TraC-j': Some Consequencesofthe EvacuationofAdult Victims. Aust Psychologist12:39-54. Motz, AetaI., (1980). The Tug Fork Survey, U.S. Army CorpofEngineers. Price,J.(1978). Some Age-related Effectsofthe 1974 Brisbane Floods. Aust New ZealJPsychiatry12:55-58. Richard, W.C. (1974). Crisis Intervention Services following Natural Disaster: The Pennsylvania Recovery Project.JCommun Psychol2:211-218.


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