How Does Your Preparedness Compare?

Disaster Response

This post is part of a weekly series focused on National Preparedness Month.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently released the results from its 2020 National Household Survey (NHS), which assesses the nation's progress in building a culture of preparedness. FEMA also reviews the perceptions and experiences that influence people to take steps to become more prepared.

Findings from the 2020 NHS show that, of the more than 5,000 respondents:

  • Over 68% have set aside money for an emergency
  • Only 48% have an emergency plan
  • Nearly 65% report seeking preparedness information
  • About 40% do not consider themselves prepared but intend to prepare
  • About 47% believe that preparing for a disaster can help, and they express confidence in their ability to prepare

In addition, FEMA uses the NHS to assess which preparedness actions individuals may take, as the agency's research suggests that certain actions lay the groundwork for pursuing other actions. The six actions studied include:

  • Have supplies to last three or more days
  • Talk with others about being prepared
  • Attend a local hearing or meeting
  • Seek information on preparedness
  • Participate in an emergency drill
  • Make an emergency plan

Overall, results from the 2020 NHS suggest 68% of participants took three or more of the surveyed preparedness actions — a 6% increase from 2019. Further analysis of the study, which has been conducted annually since 2013, suggests:

  • The percentage of the adult population that have no intent to prepare has decreased substantially since 2013 (21% in 2013 vs. 9% in 2020).
  • The percentage of the adult population that is not prepared but understands the importance of preparing and intends to do so within the next year has increased by 12 percentage points since 2013 (28% in 2013 vs. 40% in 2020), supporting the notion that there is an increased social awareness of the importance of preparing.

Although the NHS focuses on individual preparedness, these same activities and questions can be applied to your business and local home builders association (HBA). Engaging in preparedness conversations at the organizational level and taking proactive preparedness steps can help members and HBAs ensure they are well-positioned to weather future events.

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