Determination of Disaster Awareness, Attitude Levels and Individual Priorities at Kocaeli University

Ph.D., Asst. Prof., Kocaeli University, Izmit Vocatioanl School, Turkey.


Problem Statement: In disaster prone countries, preparedness is an important factor in disaster mitigation. There are various disaster management approaches. However, one common point of these approaches is that they are “preventive.” First and foremost of the principal components of the preventive approach is preparedness and education. It is possible to increase the capacity to cope with the disasters, which show variety in terms of their development periods and times and mostly involve uncertainty, by raising the awareness of all components, all individuals and communities in line with this common cause.

Purpose of Study: The goal of this study is to determine the levels of disaster awareness and attitude and the individual priorities of the personnel and the students at Umuttepe Campus of Kocaeli University.

Methods: In this survey, a relational scanning model was applied and the data were collected by a measurement tool via the Internet. The data were analyzed with percentage, frequency, arithmetic means, t-test, F-test (oneway ANOVA) and Scheffe test by using SPSS 14.00 statistical program.

Findings and Results: The difference between the awareness levels of academic and administrative personnel is associated with the positive influence of education level and responsibilities. Level of education is an important factor in reducing disaster damages. Comparison of age groups shows similar results for both personnel and student groups. This result is anticipated, because older groups are supposed to be more sensitive and responsible to the problems in their Turkish communities in regard to their experiences. Students in the Department of Engineering have the highest awareness level of all. Most of these students are from the Departments of Geology and Geophysics and have the privilege of taking courses related to disasters.

Conclusion and Recommendations: After the devastating 1999 Kocaeli earthquake in Turkey, some key institutions initiated and developed several disaster preparedness training programs, which included basic disaster awareness, awareness of structural and nonstructural earthquake hazards mitigation. Those were undoubtedly very beneficial programs, none of which was included in a formal education system, however. For this reason, most of the disaster prone countries initiated disaster education programs, considering the major disasters on their land in their curriculum. Our results support the world’s science-based developments and emphasize that education and training in disaster awareness in formal education is very important.

Keywords: Disaster, earthquake, disaster awareness, attitude, disaster education.