Disaster Preparedness (Or The Lack Thereof)

As if mass-scale human misery weren’t enough to make the tsunami pertinent to Americans, media outlets have played the “can it happen here” angle for all it’s worth. At least this will raise awareness of the need to prepare for disasters. A WirthlinWorldwide poll (fielded before the tsunami) shows that preparedness is lacking. Just 11 percent of households are “truly prepared when it comes to following all three of the guidelines set by the American Red Cross: making a disaster plan, building a disaster supplies kit, and getting trained to respond to an emergency.” While 67 percent of adults said it’s “very important” for everyone “to prepare for a catastrophic disaster such as an earthquake, hurricane or terrorist attack,” the rest didn’t even pay such lip service to the topic. Among those who haven’t sought information and training on how to cope with a disaster, 20 percent said they don’t know where to get it; 19 percent said it isn’t necessary; 17 percent said they’re too busy; 15 percent hadn’t thought about it. We’ll see, post-tsunami, if people act with more urgency.