Survey: Nearly half of Americans lack emergency plans
Nearly half of Americans do not have family/household emergency plans, according to Oak Brook, Ill.-based public communications equipment manufacturer Federal Signal’s “2010 Public Safety” survey, which was released on Wednesday. The survey was done in partnership with the Marietta, Ga.-based Safe America Foundation (SAF) as part of SAF’s “9/11 Drill Down for Safety” campaign to mobilize one million people to be involved in disaster training programs leading up to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
The survey found that 47 percent of respondents do not have an emergency plan, while 46 percent do. Americans who live in the West and/or in rural areas are more likely to have emergency plans versus those who live in the East and/or in large cities. Among Americans with an emergency plan, 65 percent have included plans for their pets or other animals, and more than 60 percent are confident in their knowledge of their areas emergency procedures, for example evacuation routes. “We need more emphasis put on the importance of emergency preparedness,” said former United States Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, an honorary chairman of the Drill Down for Safety Program. “By doing so, more Americans will feel confident in their abilities to react to an emergency.”
Additional survey findings include:
• Eighty-eight percent of respondents say mobile or wireless communication systems that connect first responders, EMTs, hospitals, fire and police are the most important tools for public safety officers to perform their duties. Just over three in four (79 percent) say having fully equipped vehicles is most important. More than half indicate that traffic clearing technology (56 percent) and GPS tracking devices (55 percent) are most important.
• Fifty-one percent know if their city or town is able to alert them in case of an emergency, while 49 percent say they do not know or are not sure if their town provides updated sirens, communication technologies or procedure/evacuation information.
• One in four survey respondents would prefer to be notified about an emergency by a telephone call (26 percent) or by television (25 percent). Another 18 percent say they would like to be notified by text message, while 15 percent would like the announcement by outdoor loudspeakers. One in ten prefers to be notified by radio.
• Respondents are most fearful of emergencies in airports (60 percent), followed closely by emergencies on some form of mass transit (52 percent). About two in five respondents are most fearful of emergencies taking place at schools, stadiums or arenas, roadways or shopping malls.