“Surveys measuring citizen preparedness show how woefully unprepared the populous is for a disaster and how much work community leaders have to do to reach residents and inform them,” according to this article from Emergency Management.
I suggest you read the whole article (interesting stuff!), but here are some excerpted highlights (or lowlights…):
“Surveys consistently indicate that less than 10 percent of the public is considered prepared for a disaster and that percentage is usually closer to 6 percent.”
Ana-Marie Jones, executive director of the nonprofit Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD) said the conclusion is that “very little sustainable preparedness has actually been put forth” and that the strategies and methods thus far have been failures. Jones said threat-based messaging is not viable and that recommending a kit with specific items to use just during an emergency is a failed strategy.
“No private-sector company would invest billions of dollars in putting out a message that had such dismal returns,” Jones said. “It’s threat-based, top-down and put forth by agencies whose mission and mindset and muscles are around disaster response not preparedness.”
John Von Thaden, general manager of alerting and notification systems for Federal Signal, said 23 percent of respondents in a recent survey said they’d need to hear about local property damage before they would be concerned about their own safety. And 15 percent said they would have to incur property damage or see an injured friend or neighbor to feel threatened.
For that reason, a viable notification system uses multiple means of alerting and gives citizens the opportunity to validate the information. “We found many people, particularly in our most recent study, expect to be able to validate by finding information elsewhere,” Von Thaden said. “There’s almost an assumption that bad things happen to other people.”