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FEMA Releases 2016 National Household Survey Results on Individual and Community Preparedness

March 2018

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual and Community Preparedness Division (ICPD) has just released the results of its 2016 National Household Survey. The results show a rise in Americans who are actively preparing for disasters. Over ninety percent of respondents say they are taking at least one step to prepare.
Taking Action. A high percentage of people are taking at least one action to prepare. Over 90% of respondents reported taking at least one of these preparedness actions - 46% took three actions. Seeking Information, Talking with others about preparation, Attending a meeting or training, Developing a household plan, Stocking Supplies, Taking part in a drill. Icons for the 6 actions in the list above.

The survey looked for things that affect people’s feelings about preparing for disasters, and what makes them more likely to do it. Past experience with disasters, and having information about preparing for hazards, were both motivators.

The survey pool of 5,019 adults included 4,016 people from counties where specific hazards have happened or, for earthquakes, where they are expected to happen. This includes earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and winter storms. People in these areas were asked extra questions about preparing for those hazards.

Results show a slow but steady increase in actions taken. This includes getting information, and practicing plans and skills. Communities with a history of hurricanes appear to be the most aware. Eighty percent of respondents say that they know how to get alerts and warnings. Areas where earthquakes have happened appear to be the best practiced. Forty-nine percent of respondents say they have participated in drills or exercises.

Effective messaging is an important strategy for increasing preparedness. The 2016 survey shows that people who say they have read, seen, or heard messages about a hazard are more likely to make emergency plans at home. Firsthand experience also motivates people to prepare. Nationally, 55 percent of people who have been through a disaster have made an emergency plan at home.

FEMA continues to focus on better messaging and outreach that urges the public to take action. FEMA gives specific steps to take and how to practice to build self-confidence. A key message is that preparing before a hazard will make a real difference for communities at risk. Messages should include survivor stories that can prove the usefulness of preparing. Such examples will help to influence others to take similar actions.
For more information and the full list of results, click here.
For questions or more information: FEMA-prepare@fema.dhs.gov.