Today, we released the “2011 FEMA Central States Disaster and Earthquake Preparedness Survey Report.” The Report provides actionable recommendations for increasing preparedness, including insight into the use of hazard-specific outreach, messaging, education, and training; the linkage between awareness of outreach and preparedness behaviors; and the value of using multiple channels for outreach and other activities.
Americans are frequently reminded to prepare for disasters—from earthquakes, to tropical storms and hurricanes, to wildfires, and to tornadoes, as a few examples.
The goal of the Central States Disaster and Earthquake Preparedness Survey was to gauge residents’ preparedness for an earthquake following six months of outreach and events by The Central United States Earthquake Consortium (in partnership with FEMA) including the 2011 National Level Exercise, which used a catastrophic earthquake as the scenario, and the April 2011 Great Central U.S. ShakeOutTM. The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut is the largest earthquake preparedness drill in central U.S. history, providing an annual opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes and to get prepared at work, school, and home.
We discovered that individuals exposed to communication and outreach before the ShakeOut had much higher awareness of the risks posed by earthquakes, and more knowledge of what to do in response to an earthquake and had taken steps to prepare for an earthquake and other hazards. We found that community connections, including outreach from community-based organizations and informal discussions among the public, are linked with earthquake preparedness behaviors.
The Report states that more than half of the survey respondents knew the following key earthquake response actions during shaking: get close to the ground, get under a large piece of furniture, hold onto something, and do not run outside if you are currently inside a building. However, more than three in five respondents incorrectly believed that they should get in a doorway, and more than two in five incorrectly believed they should run outside of a building.
The Report findings are informing new communication and outreach strategies. We are incorporating these findings into the National Campaign to build and sustain preparedness, by enhancing community-based outreach that focuses on local risks.
For more information and to download the Report, visit www.fema.gov/earthquake. In addition to reading the report, please participate in your local ShakeOutTM drill (visit http://www.shakeout.org/ to register).