In our survey we asked a random sample of Americans about fears of natural and man-made disasters. We then asked whether they had taken recommended preparedness steps such as assembling an emergency kit.

More than half of all Americans [55 percent] fear they will experience a natural or manmade disaster. And some 28 percent fear such a disaster will damage their property.

Americans Need a Disaster Reality Check

A whopping 86 percent believe an emergency supply kit, such as a 72-hour kit recommended by FEMA or the Red Cross would improve their chances of surviving a disaster. Nevertheless, 72 percent have made no effort to put together such a kit.

 We found a major disconnect between people’s expectations of what would happen in a disaster and the reality of a disaster’s aftermath
The number one excuse given by Americans is that they expect first responders to come to their aid. This is an unrealistic belief in the wake of a major disaster.

FEMA and the Red Cross are clear that Americans may need to survive on their own after an emergency. This means having their own
and other
in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials cannot reach everyone immediately. It could be hours or even days.

For example, the EF5 tornado that devastated Joplin, MO, left 158 dead, more than 1,000 people injured and 7,000 homes destroyed. Even with massive efforts from first responders all over the region, it took days to bring help to those affected by the disaster.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer in a disaster. A supply kit is essential to manage during these outages. It took New York more than 2 weeks to restore power to 95 percent of the 8.5 million people left in the dark after superstorm Sandy hit the Eastern Seaboard.

Top Excuses for Lack of Disaster Preparedness

Top Excuses for Lack of Disaster Preparedness

Excuse Percent of Americans
Emergency Services will help me 51%
I just don’t have the time 40%
I don’t want to think about it 33%
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do 28%

* Percent of Americans that indicate the reason for lack of preparation is “applicable” or “very much applicable.”

Emergency Kit – Human