• Disaster preparedness in the american academy:A study of institutional context factors for compliance with the national incident management system.

      Wilder, Paul Joseph (2012-05-21)
      Recent major disaster events at colleges and universities around the nation have demonstrated that change is needed in the way that higher education institutions (HEIs) approach disaster preparation. The comforting notion that HEIs are immune to natural and manmade hazards has been shattered by events such as the Virginia Tech massacre and Hurricane Katrina’s assault on Mississippi’s coastal campuses. Reports of many other institutional responses to a variety of disaster incidents demonstrate that these two major disasters are not isolated events on the campuses of the American academy. This study developed a snapshot view of disaster preparation in American HEIs, using National Incident Management System (NIMS) compliance as a proxy for disaster preparedness. This quantitative, retrospective study, with a non-experimental design, used a scientific approach that employed both archival and survey data from a stratified random sample of 108 HEIs that were categorized based on organization and governance, as well as institutional sector, to establish a benchmark measurement of disaster preparation in the various types of institutions. Further, the study examined institutional context factors to investigate the degree of NIMS compliance in place at American HEIs, including organization and governance, previous disaster experience, institutional size, legal representation on the planning and response team, institutional sector, and composite economic losses by state, to see if any of these factors was statistically associated with NIMS compliance. Results indicate that two of the study variables were statistically significant; institutional size and institutional sector. These findings expose that smaller institutions are lagging behind in disaster preparedness. Additionally, the outcomes reveal that private institutions are facing difficulty keeping pace with their public counterparts in disaster preparation.