Few Americans Worry About Emergency Situations Occurring in Their Community; Only One in Three Have an Emergency Plan; 70% Support Infrastructure ‘Investment’ for National Security

One in four Americans and less are concerned that an emergency situation like a terrorist attack, natural disaster, or health pandemic will affect their community, according to a new SUNYIT/Zogby Analytics Poll released today at “Safety and Security in the Global Age,” a two-day conference on the SUNYIT campus for academics and professionals concerned with safety and security issues.

The poll of 1,000 adults nationwide was conducted online by Zogby Analytics on May 8-9 and has a margin of sampling error of +/-3.2 percentage points. A wide range of national security topics was covered.

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% a general emergency, 24% an industrial accident, 23% a natural disaster, 20% a mass shooting, 19% a terrorist attack, and 15% a health pandemic.

If such an emergency situation were to occur, the most likely locations cited were a shopping mall (46%), an airport or train station (43%), a stadium or arena (42%), on a bus/plane or train (38%), an outdoor sporting or community event (35%), a school (30%), a roadway (28% ) or office building (28%), a bridge (27%), a hospital (25%), or at home (22%).

While 55% of respondents said that they were “confident in (their) knowledge of proper safety procedures”, only 36% said that they presently “have an emergency plan in place” in case of a major emergency.

In case of a neighborhood emergency, Americans expressed more confidence in their family’s preparedness (53%) over local government (44%), their airport (41%), local school (39%), or employer (31%). In case of a national emergency, Americans are most trusting in local law enforcement in case of a shooting (58%), the FBI in case of a terrorist attack (53%), the Centers for Disease Control in case of a pandemic (49%), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in case of a natural disaster (45%).

What are Americans prepared to give up in terms of privacy and convenience to combat terrorism?  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%) supported bag searches at airports and train stations. Armed security was more acceptable at airports and train stations (49%) but not at office buildings (23%), hospitals (32%), schools (34%), and shopping malls (38%). And metal detectors are fine at airports and train stations (63%), but not anywhere else – only 43% approved them at schools.

The poll tested a number of techniques to determine whether Americans would support them as a routine in everyday life:

  • Background checks for purchases of all firearms and large amounts of ammunition – 64%
  • Mandatory national fingerprinting – 47%
  • Registration and permits for products used in making bombs – 47%
  • Security cameras at all intersections on public roads – 46%
  • National identification cards for all adults – 42%
  • Microchips for all felons who have served prison time for violent crimes – 34%
  • National identification cards for all Americans – 27%

Pollster John Zogby: “Americans feel they are knowledgeable about preparation for emergency/disaster situations but onlyone 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. 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 9-11and only weeks after the Boston Marathon Bombings,Americans are not too willing to give up many of those liberties.”

SUNYIT President Bjong Wolf Yeigh: “We are pleased to inaugurate the SUNYIT/Zogby Analytics Poll with anexamination of issues that are important to every American. The findings certainly provide food for thought and a starting point for discussion in many areas. I want to thank John Zogby and Zogby Analytics for their expertise, insight and analysis. We look forward to the continuation of our partnership and the exploration of important topics in future SUNYIT/Zogby Analytics Polls.”


SUNYIT, the State University of New York Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome, is New York State’s public institute of technology, offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs in technology and professional studies. Its academic offerings in technology—civil and electrical engineering, cybersecurity, computer science, the engineering technologies, etc.—and its programs in professional studies -- business, communication, nursing, etc.—are complemented by athletics, recreational, cultural and campus life programs, events and activities.

About Zogby Analytics:

For three decades, the Zogby companies have produced polls with an unparalleled record of accuracy and reliability. Zogby telephone and interactive surveys have generally been the most accurate in U.S. Presidential elections since 1996. Zogby Analytics is composed entirely of senior level executives from Zogby International. Zogby Analytics, along with renowned pollster John Zogby, have continued in the tradition of conducting telephone and interactive surveys, while keeping an eye on the future by incorporating social media tracking and analysis into our work.

Zogby Analytics conducts a wide variety of surveys internationally and nationally in industries, including banking, IT, medical devices, government agencies, colleges and universities, non-profits, automotive, insurance and NGOs.

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For more information please contact:

John Zogby, 315-534-0476, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

John Swann, 315-792-7115, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.