Survey: Americans Complacent About Disaster Preparation
Despite 2011 bringing 99 official FEMA major disaster recognitions, Americans are shockingly complacent when it comes to natural disaster preparation, according to findings from the new 2012 Public Safety Survey.
According to the survey results, more than 56 Americans believe they are aware of the steps they should take if disaster strikes, but the specific results show a much different reality.
The survey found that 71 percent of Americans are unsure if they have a personal alerting and notification system (ANS) in their area, which includes a combination of alert options, such as calls, texts and email alerts, according to a summary from the Federal Signal Corporation.
However respondents said that they would be more motivated to take action in an emergency by ANS signal than any other communication, such as traditional warning sirens, radio, TV public service announcements, and even word-of-mouth warnings from friends and family, the article says.
The survey also showed that the more than half of Americans (57 percent) are unaware of when local warning sirens are tested, and 70 percent are unaware of the sounds and sirens associated with various warnings. In fact, the article says, more than one-in-four respondents did not know if their community had a warning siren system at all.
Plus, Americans are hesitant to take action, even when facing severe weather conditions.
Less than one half (47 percent) of survey respondents would take action based on a potential severe weather warning, and one third (33 percent) of survey-takers would require actual property damage or injury in order to care strongly about public safety awareness, the article says.
One-in-four respondents (28 percent) would require confirmation of severe weather, such as an actual tornado sighting, flood waters or a visible fire in order to take immediate action, the summary says.
One-in-12 people said that nothing would cause them to care.
However, respondents are still relying on community officials to ensure public safety. Results found that more than half of respondents (58 percent) trust local and regional government to ensure sufficient public safety standards, communication and planning in their area.
Only 29 percent feel that their officials are currently investing in, or giving government attention to, their public safety, the article says. More than one-third feel that the economy has had a negative impact on the level of investment in their community.