Survey: Only Half Americans Feel Safer Today, 10 Years After 9/11

Federal Signal Corp., a designer and manufacturer of public safety communications equipment and systems, today announced the results of its 2011 survey regarding Americans’ public safety concerns ten years after 9/11.  Conducted by Zogby International, and involving 2,153 adults across the United States, Federal Signal’s 2011 Public Safety Survey revealed that half of Americans feel they are less safe today than they were prior to the 9/11 tragedy.  The research also discovered that 90 percent of Americans believe that community public emergency awareness and/or communication requires some form of minor to major improvement.

Other key findings included:
- One third (34 percent) of Americans feel that public safety is a not a priority in their community. 
- Almost 4 out of 10 consider their city or town slightly to completely unprepared in the event of an emergency, including unexpected emergency risks such as natural disasters, terrorism and health pandemics.

“This survey speaks volumes to perceptions about the current state of public safety awareness and emergency preparedness and reminds us solutions must come from year-round, community-wide engagement and action,” noted Joe Wilson, president of Federal Signal’s Safety and Security Systems Group. “While two-thirds of Americans feel public safety is a priority in their communities, we can’t be satisfied until we have the entire population positively expressing this sentiment.”
 
Americans Feel Safest at Home, Not Work
Federal Signal’s research further unveiled that more than 4 in 10 Americans feel that public safety planning is not a priority to their employers.  When asked where they felt safest, only 4 percent of respondents said at work. However, respondents who live in a smaller city feel that their employers prioritize safety much higher (73 percent) than those who live in a rural area (48 percent).
 
Paying Attention to Disasters can Help Americans Prepare for Them
When citing recent natural disasters, for example the earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods that occurred in 2011, 52 percent of Americans indicated that attention to emergency preparedness has not increased. Of those respondents, an overwhelming 90 percent between the ages of 18 and 24 believe attention to emergency preparedness has not increased, and those who live in a city believe that attention has increased more than those who live in suburban or rural areas.
 
“Whether you’re considering 9/11 or the devastating natural disasters that occurred in 2011, the danger should never be completely removed from Americans’ minds,” said Wilson. “We need to collectively consider and actively discuss how we should prepare, respond and communicate in the event of an emergency scenario.”

Public Safety Requires a Proactive Approach
According to the survey, public safety awareness has not improved for almost half of Americans, with 46 percent reporting they maintain the same or a lesser level of awareness as compared to a year ago. Twenty-two percent claimed that nothing will make an effective impact to increasing public safety awareness.
 
“We need to remind Americans what individuals and families can and should do on their own,” Wilson added. “Federal Signal is committed to helping ensure that Americans are not only prepared for an emergency situation, but that they’re aware of what is being done to keep them safe in a disaster.”
 
Americans Make Use of Communication Channels
The study also examined how Americans choose to communicate during an emergency scenario, finding 57 percent of survey respondents would use multiple forms of communication, including text messaging, social media and email if no landline or cell phone voice communications were available in the event of an emergency.

“Threats of terrorist attack and natural disasters were deemed Americans’ greatest public safety concerns in our annual survey last December. This year’s research not only reaffirms these concerns, but reveals a greater need for more visible public safety awareness and emergency planning education,” Wilson said. “Federal Signal invites everyone to sign up for local community mass notification services and to take advantage of  other available online resources such as information about what to include in an emergency kit, how to practice evacuation drills, and remembering the importance of texting first and talking second for non-emergency communications during a disaster.”

For more information, visit http://www.alertnotification.com/

Zogby International was commissioned by Federal Signal to conduct an online nationwide survey of 2,153 adults. All surveys were completed July 29 through August 1, 2011. A sampling of Zogby International's online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate.  

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