Community Attitudes Towards Disasters

As America approaches hurricane and tornado season, Healthcare Ready annually conducts a nationwide poll through polling firm YouGov designed to assess the American population’s greatest concerns regarding disasters and the preparedness actions they take. We use data from the poll to help determine how public attitudes and actions regarding disasters may impact healthcare and to inform policy conversations.


2021 National Poll

Our sixth annual “National Domestic Preparedness Survey” provides invaluable information on factors that contribute to the uneven impact of unplanned events on communities of color, low-income individuals, the medically fragile, and other vulnerable constituencies who are more likely to live in at-risk environments.

Click the image above to view
complete survey results. 

2020 National Poll

Results from the 2020 survey revealed that while Americans are still most concerned that a natural disaster will impact their community, concern about an emerging disease quadrupled over 2019 numbers. The poll also revealed that 65% of Americans believe that a major disaster could impact their family, but less than half (40%) have an emergency plan in place or are likely to create one this year.

Click the image above to view
complete survey results. 

2019 National Poll

The 2019 survey results show that, once again, natural disasters are by far the threat of greatest concern to Americans. Results also indicate that while there is concern about disasters and disease outbreaks, most are not taking actions (on an individual or household level) to prepare. Despite 54% of Americans believing that a major disaster is likely to impact them in the next five years, over half of Americans (51%) do not have any emergency preparation plans in place.

2019 Poll Results
Click the image above to view
complete survey results. 

2018 National Poll

Results from this year’s survey indicate that for the third consecutive year, natural disasters are the threat Americans are the most concerned about, by a substantial margin. Questions added to this year’s poll showed that Americans are almost equally divided in their belief that a disaster could impact them in the next five years, however. More than half of Americans (53 percent) do not have any emergency preparation plans in place, yet 42 percent are concerned about an emergency happening.

2018 Poll Results
Click the image above to view
complete survey results. 

2017 National Poll

The results from the survey show that while Americans continue to rank the potential of a natural disaster as the disaster they are most concerned about affecting their community, they are split over who is responsible for preparing communities for disasters and disease outbreaks.

2017 Poll Results
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complete survey results. 

Key Findings

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2016 National Poll

The results from the survey show Americans understand the devastating impact a natural disaster can have on their communities, but also reveal weakness about how and where people will get their medical information in a disaster.

Read the full press release here.

2016 Survey Results
Click the image above to view
complete survey results. 
Click the image above to view
key findings from the survey. 

Key Findings

    • Most Concerning Disaster

Americans are most concerned about a natural disaster affecting their community

    • Most Trusted Information Sources for Healthcare Preparedness

A greater proportion of respondents (20%) cited their primary doctor as their most trusted source for healthcare preparedness information than hospitals (14%) or pharmacists or drugstores (3%).

    • Emergency Plans

Nearly half of Americans (47%) do not have emergency plans in place for an evacuation in a natural disaster

    • Knowledge of Prescription Information

Less than half (43%) of respondents could list all their prescription information

    • Confidence of Reaching Next Nearest Hospital

74% of survey respondents indicated confidence they could reach the next nearest hospital if the closest was closed during a disaster

    • Protection/Evacuation of Elderly Relatives

40% of survey respondents with elderly relatives living outside of the home are not comfortable elderly relatives will be protected or safely evacuated during a natural disaster

Roundtable Discussion Series: Diseases and Disasters

Emergency management, public health and healthcare preparedness stakeholders have made significant progress in recent years in recognizing and overcoming ‘silos’ that exist within the fields preventing information sharing and establishing partnerships.

At the same time, there is a recognition that making sure community-facing organizations and patient advocacy and disease-focused groups are ‘at the table’ for preparedfdness conversations is important in ensuring their unique needs are accounted for in emergency plans and response efforts.

In an effort to provide a forum to share ideas and exchange information, Healthcare Ready hosted a series of roundtable discussions designed to bring patient advocacy and community-focused organizations together with public health preparedness policy experts to share information and ideas, build relationships, and better integrate all healthcare stakeholders in public health preparedness efforts.

Chronic Care: Cardiovascular Disease and End Stage Renal Disease

The first event in the series focused on highlighting the health and medical needs patients with these chronic conditions, and their caregivers, face during a disaster or other event impacting their health.

Click on the image at the right for a high level summary of the event.

Virtual Roundtable: Diabetes and Disasters

This event examined considerations and challenges for patients with chronic diseases including diabetes and kidney disease.

View the slides here and listen to the recording here.

Aging Populations and Disasters

This event convened experts from aging advocacy groups and public health and preparedness organizations to examine and share preparedness considerations for aging populations and their caregivers.

Click on the image at the right for a high level summary of the event.

Pharmacy and Emergency Preparedness

This roundtable discussion was designed to bring public officials and retail and community pharmacy owners and operators, payers, healthcare preparedness experts and other pharmacy stakeholders together to review challenges associated with ensuring access to medicines during and emergency and building health resilience year-round. Discussion was framed to identify opportunities for innovation and share best practices.

Click on the image to the right for a high level summary of the event.

Roundtable Summary
Aging Roundtable
Pharmacy Roundtable



Infographic: COVID-19’s Impact on Black and Latinx People

This infographic shows a few likely causes of the disparate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black and Latinx communities. Black and Latinx people are testing positive and dying at higher rates from coronavirus. This pandemic is made worse by existing health and socioeconomic inequities, and in turn, it is worsening those disparities in Black and Latinx communities.




Infographic: The Importance of Resilience to Communities of Color

This infographic breaks down key features of resilient communities, in contrast with communities that lack resilient public health infrastructure. People of color usually fare worse in crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, due to systemic inequities made worse by disasters. This graphic highlights the various ways we can harm or build resilience at the community level.

Training Videos

Healthcare Ready Virtual Training – Chronic Conditions and COVID-19

Watch this training for information on Healthcare Ready’s support for people with chronic disease and health conditions during COVID-19. Find resources on understanding supply chain coordination, navigating pharmacy care, and the risk and challenges we are working to resolve.

Healthcare Ready Virtual Training – Navigating COVID-19 for Elderly and Dementia Patients

Watch for information on the risks associated with COVID-19 on the elderly and those with dementia. Find tailored resources for elderly and dementia patients to stay safe, as well as best practices and solutions caregivers can implement to protect the health of these groups.

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