The frequency and intensity of natural disasters are increasing in the United States, with severe weather events costing billions in damages and devastating loss of life. Motorola Solutions has released the findings of its 2023 Natural Disaster and Severe Weather Preparedness Survey, which captured sentiments from 1,000 United States residents. The independent market research firm Researchscape conducted the survey in May 2023.
The results uncovered growing concern from the public about severe weather and their levels of preparedness, as well as insights that uncover opportunities for greater collaboration between emergency managers and community members when it comes to proactive planning and critical communications.
“Severe weather events are occurring year round and challenging residents, as well as seasoned emergency managers in both the public and private sectors,” said Todd Piett, vice president of Rave Mobile Safety at Motorola Solutions. “Our hope is that this new independent research sheds light on the public’s growing concerns and shifting preferences as weather disasters become more severe. These insights can help shape safety steps, considerations and protocols for all stakeholders involved.”
Key findings from the report include:
Natural disasters affect residents’ everyday lives – Severe weather and natural disasters create significant, negative impacts on respondents’ lives: 66% of the public report that they have missed work, and 40% say that they have been unable to get necessities (food, water, gas, etc.).
The public’s level of concern outweighs its preparedness – While 86% of respondents are at least somewhat concerned about the intensity and frequency of natural disasters increasing in the coming years, only 36% of those surveyed feel very or extremely prepared to face major weather events.
The public has faith in first responders – An overwhelming majority (93%) of respondents say emergency responders are somewhat prepared, prepared or extremely prepared to help them/their communities in the event of a natural disaster. The same number of respondents indicate that they are confident that their public safety and emergency management agencies are equipped to handle severe weather emergencies.
The public prefers to receive severe weather alerts directly from the authorities it trusts – When asked which communication method would be their preferred source of truth during natural disasters, respondents said they would have the greatest confidence in SMS/text messages (34%) or mobile safety app alerts (32%) from local and/or state officials.
Everyone plays a role in safety – Community members are taking proactive steps to prepare for weather events, including assembling safety kits (67%), signing up for emergency notifications from their local government and/or public safety department (57%) and creating an evacuation or family preparedness plan (47%). Another positive trend to note is that more residents are sharing information about themselves or their loved ones with public safety agencies and/or 9-1-1 via an online safety profile or access/functional needs registry (35%, up from 18% in 2022).
Motorola Solutions is a member of the Government Technology & Services Coalition, a non-profit organization for government contractors in the homeland security market.