Majority of Americans Believe Natural Disasters Increasing
A recent Harris Poll asked over 2,000 adults what they thought about natural disasters. Recent tornadoes and flooding across the country was covered in depth by a variety of media sources. Colleges and universities are also increasing their offerings in disaster and emergency management as families and communities continue to be devastated by serious storms. The questions included in the survey asked Americans if they felt that serious natural disasters were increasing in frequency, and 76% responded that they are.
Only 23% responded that there is no change in the quantity of natural disasters. However, despite these convictions only 56% reported that they are fully prepared for dealing with an emergency situation. If the power goes out nearly half of the surveyed adults won’t have the food, water and first aid supplies on hand to handle the 72 hours that the Red Cross recommends. 41% of respondents have no supplies and aren’t prepared at all. Older Americans tend to be better prepared, with nearly 70% of people over 66 reporting the necessary tools and supplies on hand.
Americans worry about different natural disasters depending on their geographical locations. Tornadoes and snow storms are the most common and impact the most people, but Southerners are also worried about hurricanes and serious droughts. People in Western states like California worry about earthquakes but few other Americans consider them a threat. Despite the prevalence of nuclear power plants across the nation only 11% reported being actively concerned with a meltdown.
Americans aren’t convinced that the government is capable of handling all natural disasters equally. Nuclear meltdown is the disaster that the government would handle the worst, according to nearly 70% of respondents, followed by terrorism. Unfortunately, these are the disasters that individuals have the least ability to protect themselves from and the two events that would require the most effort from the government.