A recent article on Emergency Management Magazine’s website stated, “Surveys consistently indicate that less than 10 percent of the public is considered prepared for a disaster and that percentage is usually closer to 6 percent.” The article deems current strategies to prepare the public for emergencies as inadequate, stating that the threat-based message is delivered by government agencies whose mindset is centered on disaster response instead of preparedness.
The analogy is made that “No private-sector company would invest billions of dollars in putting out a message that had such dismal returns.” Such research suggests that the best agents for disaster preparedness are not emergency management agencies but community organizations, churches, schools and employers that encourage preparedness without scary messages.
Even more alarming in the article is the evidence presented in a recent survey that citizens seemingly hold the assumption that ‘bad things happen to other people’. The survey found that “23 percent of respondents said they’d need to hear about local property damage before they would be concerned about their own safety; and 15 percent said they would have to incur property damage or see an injured friend or neighbor to feel threatened.” Such evidence promotes the concept that multiple means of alerting are necessary in emergency management. Finding ways to validate the threat to the public is an important measure for public safety.
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