Background: In 2008, the Southern California Earthquake Center in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program launched the first annual Great ShakeOut, the largest earthquake preparedness drill in the history of the United States.
Materials and Methods: We collected online survey data from 2052 campaign registrants to assess how people participated, whether audience segments shared behavioral patterns, and whether these segments were associated with five social cognitive factors targeted by the ShakeOut campaign.
Results: Participants clustered into four behavioral patterns. The Minimal cluster had low participation in all activities (range: 0-39% participation). The Basic Drill cluster only participated in the drop, cover and hold drill (100% participation). The Community-Oriented cluster, involved in the drill (100%) and other interpersonal activities including attending disaster planning meetings (74%), was positively associated with interpersonal communication (β = 0.169), self-efficacy (β = 0.118), outcome efficacy (β = 0.110), and knowledge about disaster preparedness (β = 0.151). The Interactive and Games cluster, which participated in the drill (79%) and two online earthquake preparedness games (53% and 75%), was positively associated with all five social cognitive factors studied.
Conclusions: Our results support audience segmentation approaches to engaging the public, which address the strengths and weaknesses of different segments. Offering games may help "gamers" gain competencies required to prepare for disasters. Targeting the highly active Community-Oriented cluster for leadership roles could help build community resilience by encouraging others to become more involved in disaster planning. We propose that the days of single, national education campaigns without local variation should end.