Sheriff’s offices are an integral component of the public health emergency preparedness and response system in the United States. During a public health emergency or disaster, sheriff’s offices need to communicate with people affected by the event. Sheriff’s office websites are logical sources for information about disaster preparedness and response efforts. No prior research evaluates emergency preparedness and response resources available through sheriff’s office websites. The current research is a national study of sheriff’s office websites to assess the availability of information relating to emergency preparedness and response. A content analysis of 2,590 sheriff’s office website homepages was conducted to determine the presence or absence of nine communications elements important to people seeking information during an emergency or disaster. We found that 71.9% of sheriff’s office website homepages include links to agency services and programs, but only 6.5% provide links to emergency preparedness information. The findings of the study are useful to assess emergency preparedness and the amount of response information available as well as to identify opportunities to improve sheriff’s office website homepages.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/philip_stinson/2/