Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Civil Engineering

Committee Member

Dr. Leidy Klotz, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Catherine Mobley

Committee Member

Dr. Huriye Sez Atamturktur

Committee Member

Mr. Tim Smail


The unpredictability of the weather and the variability of preparedness and socio- demographics among the general public contribute greatly to the overall resilience (or lack thereof) of communities, cities, and states. Studies regarding singular hazards in singular locations throughout the United States and countries abroad have investigated perceptions of risk and resilience, yet such studies cannot comprehensively represent baseline perceptions of risk and resilience throughout the United States, as they only pertain to certain locations and populations.In this research study, I sought to investigate the public perception of natural hazard risk and resilience of four natural hazards commonly occurring in the United States: earthquakes, floods, high winds (hurricanes and tornadoes) and wildfires. While these hazards are often more prevalent in certain locations, their remains potential they will affect other locations as well. To investigate, we constructed and implemented a 29-question online survey, gathering a nationwide sample of 416 respondents through SurveyMonkey Audiences. Participants were asked a series of questions related to their knowledge of natural hazard risk for their primary residence. Results indicate that there is significant misunderstanding among the general public relating to natural hazard risk—participants were significantly unaware of the multiple natural hazards that could affect them and often underestimated or overestimated their specific level of risk. Additional survey questions inquired about: levels of preparedness; ease/difficulty in performing resilient actions; knowledge of residential mitigation measures and their added strength/weakness to the building envelope; perceptions of community resilience; and open-ended questions examining each participant’s perception of resilience and the most effective action to be resilient.If the general public has incorrect perceptions of natural hazard risk and mediocre levels of preparedness, how can we improve upon their foundational knowledge and aim to increase their level of preparedness? Hazards are always looming, but with a more aware and prepared population, we have a greater ability to weather the storm. Through this research we are able to further build upon past hazard perception research, providing more current, potential solutions to target outreach and education.