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FEMA Releases 2018 National Household Survey Results on Individual and Community Preparedness

September 2019

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released the results from the 2018 National Household Survey (NHS). Every year, FEMA surveys the American public to assess how the culture of personal disaster preparedness and resilience has changed over time. The NHS also measures individuals’ attitudes and behaviors regarding preparedness and assesses what influences them to begin preparing for a future hazard.

Estimates from the 2018 NHS suggest that an increasing percentage of the American public are actively preparing for disasters.
  • 57% percent have taken three or more basic actions to prepare. That’s eleven percentage points higher than last year’s estimate.
  • 94% percent have taken at least one action to prepare.
  • 67% percent of adults have set aside some money for an emergency, although most have set aside less than $500.
  • When focusing on areas at higher risk of certain disasters, residents in areas at risk for hurricanes are most likely to have taken preparedness actions.
National Preparedness Results Chart

While the NHS shows more than half of the population has taken at least three actions, an opportunity remains for increasing awareness about the importance of taking these actions. The survey results also suggest easy access to preparedness information may influence preparedness behavior.

The NHS surveyed approximately 5,000 adults in the U.S. via landline and cell phone in both English and Spanish. The survey includes both a nationally representative sample and hazard-specific oversamples including tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, and urban events.


For more information and the full list of results, click here.

For more information about preparedness research, please visit https://www.ready.gov/preparedness-research

For questions or additional information, please contact FEMA-prepare@fema.dhs.gov.

This article first appeared in the monthly Individual and Community Preparedness Newsletter. Subscribe here.