Whether it be the threat of terrorism, an electro-magnetic pulse attack, a flood, a tornado or fire, most Americans apparently believe they are immune.
That’s according to a new poll by Zogby Analytics said that only one American in four is concerned that a disaster of some kind will affect his or her community.
Just 36 percent, the survey said, have an established emergency response plan in place.
The poll by State University of New York Institute of Technology and Zogby was conducted online May 8-9 and reached out to 1,000 adults nationwide. It has a sample error rate of 3.2 percentage points.
It was released in conjunction with the “Safety and Security in the Global Age” conference on the SUNY campus.
“When asked of the likelihood if a series of emergency situations were to occur in their community, the following percentages said the emergency was ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’: 26 percent a general emergency, 24 percent an industrial accident, 23 percent a natural disaster, 20 percent a mass shooting, 19 percent a terrorist attack, and 15 percent a health pandemic,” the report said.
“If such an emergency situation were to occur, the most likely locations cited were a shopping mall (46 percent), an airport or train station (43 percent), a stadium or arena (42 percent), on a bus/plane or train (38 percent), an outdoor sporting or community event (35 percent), a school (30 percent), a roadway (28 percent ) or office building (28 percent), a bridge (27 percent), a hospital (25 percent), or at home (22 percent),” said the report.
Also, 55 percent said they were “confident” that they knew safety procedures, but only 36 percent said they have a plan for emergencies “in place.” That’s despite a number of websites that provide guidance and resources for emergencies.
Zogby reported that in case of a neighborhood emergency, more Americans said their family (53 percent) was prepared than their local government (44 percent).
Airports (41 percent), schools (39 percent) and employers (31 percent) were estimated to be even less prepared.
“In case of a national emergency, Americans are most trusting in local law enforcement in case of a shooting (58 percent), the FBI in case of a terrorist attack (53 percent), the Centers for Disease Control in case of a pandemic (49 percent), and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration in case of a natural disaster (45 percent),” the report said.
But the poll shows Americans still are concerned about privacy and not always supportive of “security” measures.
“In several situations tested, Americans gave little support to retinal scans and searches of personal items – but there were some differences depending on the specific situations. A majority (58 percent) supported bag searches at airports and train stations. Armed security was more acceptable at airports and train stations (49 percent) but not at office buildings (23 percent), hospitals (32 percent), schools (34 percent), and shopping malls (38 percent),” the poll reported.
The idea of a national ID card was rejected with only 27 percent supporting the idea. But microchips for felons who served time for violent crimes were supported by 34 percent, ID cards for adults 42 percent, public road security cameras 46 percent, registration of bomb ingredients 47 percent, national fingerprinting 47 percent and background checks for firearms and large ammunition purchases 64 percent.
Pollster John Zogby said Americans “feel they are knowledgeable about preparation for emergency/disaster situations but only one in three have actual preparedness plans.”
“When it comes to such situations, all emergency relief is local – i.e. Americans trust family and local law enforcement more than government or larger institutions,” he said. “We seek and trust the familiar more than the agencies we support by taxes. This country was founded on personal liberty and more than a decade after the events of 9-11 and only weeks after the Boston Marathon Bombings, Americans are not too willing to give up many of those liberties.”