Survey Find More than Half of American Families Not Prepared for Emergency Situations

Nation's level of preparedness trending in the right direction

MILWAUKEE, WI (September 18, 2012) - A recent survey from GE Generator Systems found more than half of all American families are not prepared for emergency situations.

The survey, conducted in anticipation of National Preparedness Month in September, showed 55 percent of families did not have an emergency preparedness kit at home. That figure, however, is an improvement from the 2011 survey that found 64 percent of families did not have a kit at home.

Having an emergency preparedness kit and an emergency family communication plan in place, are two key steps the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Ready Campaign urges families to take.

“We are encouraged to see the country’s level of preparedness trending in the right direction,” said Amanda Grandy, marketing manager at Briggs & Stratton, the exclusive licensee of GE Generator Systems. “But we still have a long way to go to help ensure U.S. families can get through an unexpected situation safely and comfortably.”

GE Generator Systems is a coalition member of the Ready Campaign.

The survey reached 1,312 parents between Aug. 29 and Sept. 4 living in the United States with children in the household under the age of 18.

The survey found families who experienced a prolonged power outage in the past are encouraged to better prepare for future emergencies. Almost two-thirds of respondents — 65 percent — who have experienced a power outage of at least 12 hours in the past two years said they were motivated by the event to make preparations for a future outage. That’s up from 56 percent in 2011.

“Already in 2012, we’ve seen numerous wide-spread and lengthy power outages,” Grandy said. “Whether it was the outages caused by Hurricane Isaac or the powerful storm systems in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states, our survey is showing that those events could be motivating Americans to prepare better for the next emergency.”

According to the survey results, each region of the country saw marked improvement in its level of preparedness compared to 2011. And for the second year in a row, the GE Generator Systems survey found families living in the West to be most prepared — 53 percent of respondents have an emergency preparedness kit compared to 45 percent in 2011. Forty-nine percent of families in the South have a preparedness kit, up from 39 percent in 2011, while the East (42 percent, up from 34 percent in 2011) and the Midwest (40 percent, up from 30 percent in 2011) both trailed the level of preparedness nationwide.

The most common items respondents reported keeping in their emergency preparedness kits included a flashlight and extra batteries (96 percent); first-aid kit (95 percent); manual can opener (86 percent); and a three-day supply of non-perishable food (82 percent). Still, many were missing some of the key preparedness tools the FEMA Ready Campaign recommends:

  • 26 percent did not have a cell phone with chargers, an inverter or solar charger
  • 33 percent did not have a battery-powered or hand crank radio
  • 25 percent did not have enough water on hand (recommended one gallon per person per day for at least three days)
    Additionally, the survey found 75 percent of parents have talked to their children about what to do when the power goes out. But 57 percent of respondents who leave their children with a baby sitter had not talked to their baby sitter about a communication plan in the event of a power outage.

For complete survey results, visit For more information about how to properly prepare for an emergency, visit

Data for this survey was collected by Harris Interactive Service Bureau (“HISB”) on behalf of Client. HISB was responsible for the data collected and Client was responsible for the survey design, data analysis and reporting.