A new study from BELFOR Property Restoration (BELFOR)—the world’s largest disaster recovery and property restoration company—found that despite the U.S. experiencing 14 major natural disasters in 2018 and incurring more than $91 billion in damages, 80 percent of respondents felt they are only moderately, slightly or not at all prepared for disasters. BELFOR conducted the survey to measure household disaster preparedness and awareness in observance of National Preparedness Month, annually recognized in September.
The survey, comprised of more than 1,000 homeowners and renters across the nation, revealed a shocking lack of preparedness for both natural and man-made disasters. Among the most significant findings:
- 70 percent of respondents have not created a disaster preparedness plan
- Almost half (42 percent) of respondents who have not made a preparedness plan have never thought about it. In addition, a third said they have not made a plan because of not knowing what to do or not having had time.
- 47 percent of respondents – nearly half – do not know what items they should have on-hand in the event of an emergency. For those who did, the top-three items were food, water and flashlights.
- Tornadoes (20 percent), fires (19 percent) and hurricanes (19 percent) ranked as the leading disaster concerns across the nation.
“With the number of natural disasters, as well as the ongoing risk of everyday catastrophes, it is important that all Americans are more aware of and educated on disaster preparedness,” said Sheldon Yellen, CEO of BELFOR. “At BELFOR, we want to help families, communities and businesses be as prepared as possible in advance of an emergency, which is why we encourage homeowners and renters alike to create a preparedness plan, have an emergency kit ready to go, and set aside time to practice emergency drills with their loved ones.”
In terms of age groups, millennials and Gen Xers were more likely to rate themselves as not at all prepared while Baby Boomers rated themselves as most prepared (moderately to extremely prepared). The survey also found that millennials and Gen Xers turned to both online websites and television as their “go-to” disaster news source while Baby Boomers preferred the television.
BELFOR’s annual survey also found that of those who said they were responsible for pets or small children in a disaster (approximately a third of respondents), only 15 percent of pet owners and 17 percent of those responsible for small children have created plans to protect their animals and children in the event of a disaster.