SALT LAKE CITY - August 19, 2020 - Goal Zero, the leader in portable energy, today announced the results of a new survey that examined Americans' feelings and behaviors surrounding emergency preparedness, as well as how COVID-19 has impacted their overall preparedness. The study revealed that the vast majority of Americans rarely or never thought about emergency preparedness before the pandemic and nearly half would have to leave their home in case of emergency because they are underprepared. Preparedness of all forms is quickly becoming a top priority for families as they face the ongoing pandemic.
“It’s often human nature to put long-term planning and emergency preparedness on the backburner, especially during good times, but the pandemic has put those things squarely at the top of people’s to-do lists,” said Bill Harmon, general manager at Goal Zero. “As we found from the study and is backed up from direct outreach to us at Goal Zero, more than ever people are thinking about how to prepare for emergencies, from powering their essential items to personal finance, to food storage and more. COVID-19 has caused a major shift in the way people are thinking about preparedness.”
The findings highlighted the fact that the general population isn’t currently prepared for an emergency of any length of time. This held true for basic needs such as food and water, medications, power and more. However, due to the pandemic, emergency preparedness has turned into a top priority and is just as important as retirement as people shift their mindset to consider investing money into preparedness items in order to feel more secure about their future. Other key findings include:
Of those polled, Goal Zero found that 61% of respondents have no form of backup power for emergencies and that while most (88%) feel they are prepared for a short power outage (48 hrs or less), only half (53%) feel prepared for a power outage over 48 hours. Highlighting just how important our electronics, and phones especially, are to our daily lives, cell phones are the number one thing respondents wouldn’t give up in an emergency (48%) with their vehicle coming in a distant second (15.7%).
68% of those surveyed rarely or never thought about emergency preparedness before COVID-19, but 78% think more about their level of emergency preparedness since the pandemic began. Highlighting an overall lack of preparedness, 47% of those surveyed said they would have to leave their home in case of emergency because they are so underprepared. Of those a quarter (23%) wouldn’t even know where to go.
Surprisingly, more than a quarter (28%) don’t even have any emergency water storage. Of those who said they were severely underprepared, 37% don’t feel comfortable asking for help in their neighborhood or complex in an emergency. This is an interesting finding showing not only individual under-preparedness but also neighborhood-wide under-preparedness.
Pre-COVID-19 nearly half (45%) of respondents were saving no money each month for emergencies, with that number dropping significantly to only 18% since the pandemic started. A third (33%) were even motivated to learn how to create a budget.
The pandemic has created a major shift in people’s long-term planning as well. Pre-pandemic, 65% would rather contribute to a 401K than to emergency preparedness, however since COVID-19 started, that number has dropped significantly to 49% with more than 50% reporting they would rather spend money on emergency preparedness.
Humanity and New Skills
Trying times often show us both the best and the worst of ourselves. According to the survey, 30% of respondents say the pandemic has made them view humanity more negatively. Especially younger generations, who tended to view it even more negatively than older (37% vs 22%).
During quarantine, many people found themselves with added time on their hands as things like commutes, eating out and other socialization were either eliminated or significantly cut back. With that added time, many looked for new skills that would not only fill that time but may help them during a prolonged quarantine period. These included growing a garden (35%), creating a budget (33%), baking bread (26%) and canning and bottling food (21%).
To see the full summary of the survey results please visit: https://www.goalzero.com/product-features/emergency-prep-survey/
Generated by Goal Zero and fielded in June 2020, the survey collected online responses via SurveyMonkey from 1,040 U.S. consumers who are over the age of 18.
About Goal Zero
Goal Zero is the industry leader in smart, portable power. From emergency outages to camping to off-grid projects and events, our solar panels, power stations and accessories give you the power to keep your gear charged through any situation. We were born out of the desire to empower people everywhere, and as an NRG company we're working to change the way people think about and use power by pioneering the development of smarter energy choices. Power. Anything. Anywhere. For more information, visit www.GoalZero.com.