American Households Not Prepared for Disaster

In response to a recent national survey, the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) has released its finding regarding the issue of community and family disaster preparedness for children. Part of the Resilient Children/Resilient Communities initiative, and conducted by the NCDP and Save the Children, as funded by a grant from GSK, the survey offers several key findings:

  • In the event of a disaster, 51 per cent of American households are not confident that the government can meet the needs of children.
  • 37 per cent of households are not confident in the ability of the local community to meet the needs of children.
  • 35 per cent of households with children lack familiarity with their schools' evacuation and emergency plans.
  • 41 per cent of households with children do not know the location to which their schools would evacuate them.

As observed by Dr. Irwin Redlener, Director of NCDP and Professor, Health Policy and Management, Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, "We are experiencing a continuous increase in the number of extreme weather events, and 10 years after Hurricane Katrina and three years after Superstorm Sandy, the vast majority of Americans remain unprepared for major disasters. What we've also found is that many parents are not confident that their children would be protected and are not aware of what plans schools have made to be sure that children are safe in case of a catastrophic event in their community. This should be a wake-up call for elected officials and policy makers."

To develop stronger community and government support for children, the Resilient Children/Resilient Communities Initiative is working on establishing a model of child-focused community resilience planning that can be used at a national scale, via pilot projects in New York and Arkansas.