Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration

Executive Summary

Statement of the Problem

During the first 24 to 72 hours following a terrorist attack, local officials and first responders will be responsible for dealing with the initial aftermath. While most officials—federal, state, and local—have all acknowledged that domestic preparedness must occur at the bottom of the governmental structure, it is unclear if any changes to emergency response planning have actually occurred at the local governmental level.

Research Questions

The intention of this capstone is to answer the following questions:

  1. Has change in emergency response planning occurred at the county level?
  2. Are there regional differences present in terms of organizational change and emergency response planning?


A self-designed survey was sent to all county judge executives in Kentucky except for Fayette and Jefferson counties where the directors of emergency management received the survey (N=120). The response rate for the survey was 63 percent, which is approximately 76 counties. The data collected from the surveys used SPSS statistical software to calculate frequency distributions, correlations, Cronbach’s Alpha test, and a logistic regression analysis.


This study demonstrates that change in the dependent variable (drastic change to emergency response plans) can be explained 73.8 percent of the time by the independent variables (‘Mitigation Practices,’ ‘level of resistance to change,’ ‘person in charge of emergency response,’ long-term vision,’ ‘political barriers,’ and ‘regional location’). 44 county judge executives stated that they had drastically changed their county’s emergency response plans since the events of 9/11. This study also found that counties in the Pennyrile region of the stat are more likely to have drastically changed their emergency response plans based on the influence of the independent variables which all relate to increasing emergency response.


The following recommendations are suggested: 1) further research needs to be conducted to measure factors not captured in this study, 2) focus emergency response planning as an organizational change problem and to utilize different planned change models for different change agents.



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