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Press Release Detail

Sunday, January 25, 2015  16:17

Issued: Monday, December 31, 2012  00:00

Preparedness Apathy and Complacency -Really?

Looking back on every severe weather and disaster event in the United States this past year, one issue remains constant – people are not prepared. In the 2012, Third Annual Public Safety Survey by Federal Signal Corporation, a tone of apathy and complacency by the general public was recognized as being one of the largest problems for the lack of preparedness. Is it truly personal apathy and complacency that keeps everyone from becoming better prepared or is it a larger issue we all need to share responsibility for ?
Complacency and apathy are words relieving responsibility for preparedness from everyone except the individual.  Although part of the responsibility definitely rests upon each individual and their family, a great deal of responsibility rests upon the local emergency managers, local jurisdictions and others who are aware the specific hazards their citizens could encounter.  Are there opportunities for the citizens to become better educated through regular site specific and hazard specific educational forums? Are they enabled with accurate information to make appropriate decisions about preparedness for their families?
It is not a question of apathy and complacency. It is a question of are the citizens becoming educated enough? There have been numerous times I’ve visited areas with significant concerns from a Cascadia Fault Earthquake and possible resulting tsunami, where the citizens believe they will drive to safety during the event. When questioned about liquefaction and subsidence, to a person, all claimed to understand the impacts presented by each situation.  However, when shown pictures of liquefaction and subsidence occurrences throughout the world, everyone was taken aback. All had heard about the two issues but had no idea of the true impact each presented. Two pictures provided a truly valuable educational experience.
Education of our citizens is paramount in order to assist in preparing themselves, their family, friends, pets and businesses for every potential hazard event they could be subject to. Citizens do care and desire more and more information. Providing ways to become better informed and educated should be expanded upon by all emergency managers and local jurisdictions. All communities will benefit from the effort.
Federal Signal Safety & Security Systems. (2012). Revealing Americans' Awareness & Preparedness Surrounding Emergency Situations, 2012 Third Annual Public Safety Survey. University Park, IL: Federal Signal Safety & Security Systems.