To support National Preparedness Month, the National Financial Educators Council (NFEC) shared survey data today showing U.S. families are overwhelming unprepared financially for a disaster. Each year, the U.S. government promotes the importance of preparing for an emergency as part of National Preparedness Month. The campaign theme for 2021 is Prepare to Protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.
The NFEC received 1,106 responses from people across the US to the question, “How much emergency money do you have saved that you could tap into in the case of a disaster in your area?” Over a quarter of respondents (28.4%) have less than one month of emergency funds saved and 39.7% have less than two months saved. The survey was conducted between Aug. 12 and Sept. 1, 2021. National Preparedness Month was founded in 2004 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“NFEC’s survey of U.S. households shows that Americans are drastically underprepared financially to respond to a major emergency,” said NFEC CEO Vince Shorb. “We’ve all experienced over the past two years how the world as we know it can change overnight. Emergencies come without warning, so it’s important to prepare now to protect yourself and your loved ones when they need it most.”
To help families prepare for an emergency, the NFEC offers free resources on the organization’s website. A Disaster Preparedness Checklist and 30-minute online training present guidelines for how to prepare for an emergency, including a list of these essential items:
- First Aid
- Environmental Protection
- Critical Documents
The NFEC recommends creating an emergency fund that includes the cost of at minimum six months of household bills in case of job loss during an emergency. In addition, writing a personalized emergency plan and sharing it with all members of the household, building an emergency kit of essential supplies, organizing and securing important documents, and understanding community evacuation routes and meeting points, are all key steps to mitigating risk and improving self-sufficiency in the event of a disaster.
“When it comes to emergencies, it’s not a question of “if,” but rather “when” your household will be impacted,” said Shorb. “That’s why the NFEC supports FEMA’s annual efforts to educate families about the importance of preparing in advance for an emergency. If your family is already prepared, it’s a great reminder to re-check your inventory to make sure you’re ready for whatever the coming year will bring.”