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The epidemiology and etiology of visitor injuries in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park [electronic resource] /

by Heggie, Travis Wade

Abstract (Summary)
The U.S. National Park Service has recognized visitor health and safety as an important component of protected area management. Despite this recognition, research investigating visitor health and safety issues in national parks is lacking. In order to improve the understanding of the factors contributing to visitor injuries, the purpose of this study was to: 1) identify the distribution of injuries in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 2) examine the relationship between visitor factors and the severity of visitor injuries in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, 3) examine the relationship between environmental factors and the severity of visitor injuries in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and 4) determine the effectiveness of sign placement and indirect supervision on controlling visitor injuries in the park. Data for this study consisted of 5,947 incident reports recorded in Hawaii Volcanoes between January 1, 1993 and December 31, 2002. The results found that even though 26% of the injuries in the park occur in frontcountry regions, 53% of all visitor injuries took place at the Eruption Site. As well, 130 of the 268 (49%) fatalities occurred on roadway environments and 1,179 of the 1,698 (69%) severe injuries occurred at the Eruption Site. Logistic regression analysis used to examine the relationship between visitor factors and injury severity in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park found that female visitors, visitors wearing minimal footwear and clothing, and visitors carrying no flashlight and minimal drinking water are factors significantly associated with fatal injuries. Visitors wearing minimal footwear and clothing, visitors carrying no flashlight and minimal drinking water, visitors entering restricted areas, visitors with pre-existing health conditions, and visitors aged 50-59 years of age are factors significantly associated with severe injuries. Logistic regression analysis found no built environment factor to be significantly associated with visitor fatalities or severe injuries. However, darkness and rugged terrain were significantly associated with visitor fatalities. Chi-square tests of independence found the combined treatment of sign placement and indirect supervision to have no effect on reducing the frequency and severity of visitor injuries at the Eruption Site.
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School:Texas A&M International University

School Location:USA - Texas

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:major recreation park and tourism sciences injury hawaii illness national

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