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Citizen Preparedness Review

The Citizen Preparedness Review (CPR) is published periodically to summarize research findings in the field of disaster preparedness and to support local efforts to achieve greater community resilience. A summary of each CPR is provided below with a link to the full document. The Citizen Preparedness Surveys Database is a compilation of research conducted since September 11, 2001 on personal and business preparedness. This database is used to assess trends in research and trends in preparedness throughout the nation. If you are aware of relevant survey that is not included in this database, please contact

Download Citizen Preparedness Surveys Database (pdf iconPDF, 127KB)

Related Research

Public Readiness Index

The Council for Excellence in Government has created a Public Readiness Index (PRI) to help individuals, families and communities measure their Readiness Quotient (RQ). Find out how other Americans measured up and check your own RQ.

Download Public Readiness Index. (pdf iconPDF, 1.95MB)

Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 5: Fall 2007
Update on Citizen Preparedness Research

CPR Issue 5 provides an update on citizen disaster preparedness research conducted since spring 2006. Since that time, several key studies have been released that allow us to understand how Americans. perspective disaster preparedness have or have not changed. Specific conclusions include:

  • Individuals may be less prepared than they think.
  • Surveys are exploring preparedness measures beyond a kit and a plan.
  • New potential barriers to preparedness are beginning to be explored.
  • New factors have been shown to affect the level of personal preparedness.
  • Levels of preparedness depend on geographic location.
  • Evacuation is an emerging area of exploration.

Download Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 5: Fall 2007 (pdf iconPDF, 280KB)

Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 4: Fall 2006
Citizen Corps Personal Behavior Change Model for Disaster Preparedness

CPR Issue 4 introduces a model to describe segments of the population based on their perceptions of threat and efficacy relative to disaster preparedness. For each audience segment the model provides associated areas of focus for outreach and social marketing designed to target specific barriers and motivations. This model can be used to help make audience research and outreach efforts more effective in order to develop a sustained culture of preparedness.

Identified Threat / Efficacy Profiles:

  • Unaware or dismissive of threat: Does not believe a threat is likely, or that the threat is severe enough to impact them significantly, or do not believe the threat is imminent.
  • Understands susceptibility to and severity of threat yet is still unprepared. Perceives varied barriers to preparedness behaviors.
  • Understands threat and has high belief in self and response efficacy. Is prepared and is motivated to remain prepared

Focus of Outreach / Social Marketing designed to address knowledge, attitude and skills:

  • Risk-based preparedness messages
  • Efficacy messages (increase belief in ability to perform preparedness actions and belief in effectiveness of those actions)
  • Behavior maintenance and reinforcement messages

Download Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 4: Fall 2006 (pdf iconPDF, 666KB)

Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 3: Summer 2006
Patterns in Current Research and Future Research Opportunities

CPR Issue 3 examines patterns in citizen preparedness research date and identifies opportunities to fill existing gaps to develop more effective citizen preparedness initiatives in the future. Future research should:

  • provide more demographic and contextual personal characteristics to provide deeper understanding of barriers and motivations for preparedness.
  • analyze the perceived and actual barriers to preparedness, including the personal characteristics that correlate with personal preparedness and external motivating factors.
  • examine individuals' preparedness in locations outside the home, such as school, workplace, and community
  • more fully explore participants' knowledge of correct preparedness measures for difference types of hazards.
  • investigate aspects of being prepared beyond a disaster supplies kit in the home and a family plan, to include knowledge of the warning systems and the potential personal impact of different hazards, the appropriate response to different hazards, training for specific skills, and volunteerism.

Download Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 3: Summer 2006 (pdf iconPDF, 371KB)

Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 2: Spring 2006
A Post-Katrina Assessment

  • The events of Hurricane Katrina have not increased the level of citizen preparedness.
  • While self-reported preparedness actions remain unchanged, there is an increased level of awareness of the recommended steps to take.
  • The events of Hurricane Katrina have tarnished the image and trust that Americans have in the government's ability to respond effectively to a disaster.
  • The surveys confirm the existence of an income gap in the level of preparedness; race appears to have only a small impact on preparedness.
  • Hurricane Katrina also brought to the public's attention the difficulties that those with disabilities face in times of disaster.

Download Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 2: Spring 2006 (pdf iconPDF, 658KB)

Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 1: Summer 2005
Methodological Considerations and Key Findings in Preparedness Research

  • Respondents' perceptions of their preparedness for a disaster are much greater than their actual preparedness.
  • The biggest barriers to action are the lack of importance that people place on preparedness, lack of time, and lack of information.
  • Simply providing preparedness information is not sufficient to change the behavior of most Americans.
  • The perception of an imminent threat is probably the greatest factor in motivating people to take action.
  • In general, people report trusting experts in a given field, such as doctors and first responders, over elected officials or government administrators.
  • Despite low public trust in the media, television is the first choice for crisis information; this is problematic for communication in disasters that affect electricity.

Download Citizen Preparedness Review Issue 1: Summer 2005 (pdf iconPDF, 340KB)