Weather or not? Americans fear natural disasters more than terrorists or diseases (or Donald Trump)

June 12, 2018

Forget the tariff dispute with the G7 or the nuclear talks with North Korea. U.S. adults are more worried about the weather, based on findings of a survey conducted by YouGov on behalf of Healthcare Ready, and released on June 11.

It’s true. In fact, the responses of 1,127 Americans indicate, for the third year running, that a natural disaster—such as a hurricane, tornado, flood or wildfire—is their worst nightmare. Specifically, respondents said that they were more concerned that violent storms or fires would wipe out their homes (33%) than about potential terrorist attacks (15%), cyberattacks (8%), environmental spills (5%), or disease outbreaks (13%).

But, just because they are concerned, that doesn’t mean they are ready: More than half of Americans (53%) say they do not have any severe weather emergency plans in place, yet 42% fear a calamity. For example, only 35% of respondents said they could provide the details of their prescriptions, if they had to evacuate from their homes without their medications or medical supplies—down from 38% in 2017. Yet, a full one-quarter of respondents (25%) said they could go only two to three days without suffering from drug deprivation, if they left their supplies behind.

“These findings underscore the need to prioritize individual and community preparedness across the country in the face of threats from natural disasters, including the current hurricane season. Because we know that it’s not if, but when, a disaster will strike,” said Healthcare Ready Executive Director Nicolette Louissaint. “This annual poll provides insight that allows us to help the public and private health sectors better prepare and respond swiftly to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, or other emergency situations.”

What’s worse, just 32% of Americans believe that the federal government has enough funding to prepare communities for disasters and or to provide adequate aid during disaster recovery—which is down from previous years. Even fewer (30%) think that their own states are sufficiently funded.

“All levels of government must be involved for a swift and effective response and have to be sufficiently resourced in order to do so. Local and federal officials must also work with communities before disaster strikes to help them prepare and ultimately recover from a disaster,” Louissaint commented.

She advises Americans to take some steps to get ready now—among them:

  • Keep a written list of prescriptions, including dosage information, in a safe space;
  • Prepare an emergency kit with food, water, flashlights, batteries, blankets, clothing, and medical supplies for either sheltering-in-place or evacuation;
  • Map out the location of local hospitals, urgent care clinics and pharmacies; and
  • Discuss evacuation plans,  shelters and meeting points, and support for family members and neighbors who may need extra help.

“Now in its third year, Healthcare Ready’s survey continues to provide useful insights about what Americans fear most and how prepared they feel for a natural disaster or emergency.

Research contact: @NLouissaint_PhD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *