Americans Feel Unprepared for Emergencies

Survey finds services from professional cleaners can help people feel safer

August 25, 2020

With the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the news that two tropical storms could hit the U.S. Gulf coast as examples, Americans have been bracing for disasters for most of 2020. Despite the pandemic challenges of 2020, and the U.S. experiencing 14 separate billion-dollar natural disasters in 2019, most Americans do not feel prepared to deal with disasters, both natural and man-made, according to a survey from BELFOR Holdings Inc. (BELFOR) a  disaster recovery and property restoration company.

However, more Americans now recognize the importance of clean facilities and many reported feeling safer returning to facilities that have been serviced by professionals specifically trained to eliminate pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, such as GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation from The Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC), a Division of ISSA. Companies that are trained to be prepared for all situations through certifications, including the Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS), are also at an advantage.

The national survey of homeowners and renters conducted annually in recognition of National Preparedness Month in September, found that 75% of Americans do not feel that they are well prepared for natural or man-made disasters, and only three out of ten Americans have an emergency preparedness plan. According to the survey:

  • Only one-third of respondents have been influenced by recent media coverage around COVID-19 to improve their emergency preparedness planning. Less than half of these respondents bought supplies for an emergency kit, created, and/or updated their preparedness plan, or reviewed a preparedness plan with their family.
  • 41% of respondents are more aware of cleaning needs within their homes amid the pandemic.
  • Of the 39% of respondents currently working at home due to the pandemic, almost half would be comfortable returning to their office if their employer used a professional cleaning company certified in COVID-19 treatment, versus a janitorial service or having employees themselves clean their workplace.
  • 53% of working respondents think it is important to have an emergency plan at work, but only 40% were familiar with such a plan at their workplace.
  • Survey respondent’s biggest concerns varied by region, with those in the Midwest and Southwest most worried about tornadoes, those in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic most worried about home fires, those in the South most worried about hurricanes, and those in the West most worried about earthquakes.


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