The annual Preparedness Survey of Albertans measures preparedness knowledge and actions across the province. The results are weighted to reflect age, gender and ethnicity across Alberta.
The survey helps the emergency management community understand levels of preparedness, identify potential gaps or weaknesses, and develop strategies to address and better meet the needs of individuals and communities in the province.
When community members are prepared for disruption, it means:
- emergency workers can focus on responding to disasters and getting situations under control faster
- emergency social services can provide support to the most vulnerable populations
- impacts of disasters are reduced so people can get back to their lives and work sooner
Although the annual survey is conducted by the Alberta government, it will take a collective effort to drive change:
- Alberta is a large province, with a variety of hazards and a population with varying needs, abilities and knowledge.
- The Alberta government created the Be Prepared program to help community leaders build resilience at the local level.
- By working together, we can raise Albertans' risk literacy and encourage disaster risk reduction behaviour in our province.
2023 survey findings
Albertans are not prepared for emergencies. Many feel they don't have the knowledge they need to improve their self-reliance.
- People took more preparedness actions when compared to 2022.
- They are still less prepared when compared to 2021.
- Lack of information is still the leading barrier to taking preparedness action.
- Only 11% of Albertans are aware of the Be Prepared program.
Disaster risk literacy
Disaster risk literacy is being able to understand and recognize potential hazards. This can include both:
- physical risks – such as the possibility of a train derailment or tornado
- more abstract risks – like the possibility of losing access to funds via debit or credit cards due to systems outages
Risk literacy is being aware of possible risks and knowing how likely they are and how bad they could be. This knowledge helps us take appropriate risk reduction actions.
The top 4 hazards of concern in 2023 are:
- extreme cold and winter storms
- power or water outages
- extreme heat
The top hazard concern varies by region:
- northern Alberta – wildfires
- central Alberta – tornado or extreme winds
- eastern Alberta – severe drought
- southern Alberta – extreme heat and severe drought
Learn about how to prepare for common hazards in Alberta.
Risk reduction behaviours
Risk reduction behaviour refers to actions that individuals or communities can take to reduce the impact of a disaster, emergency or disruption. While not all impacts may be harmful, they may cause significant disruption to daily life.
Risk reduction behaviours can include things like:
- creating emergency plans
- applying FireSmart to your property
- practicing emergency drills
The top 3 preparedness behaviours were to:
- get informed – 61% proactively sign-up for messaging before an emergency occurs (example: download the Alberta Emergency Alert app)
- get insurance – 55% have proper insurance
- gather supplies – 42% have enough supplies to shelter in place
Learn how you can educate your community at Resources for your community.
Risk reduction motivators
Risk reduction motivators are what drive individuals or communities to take action to reduce their risk of harm. These motivators can include both:
- external factors – such as government regulations or insurance requirements
- internal factors – such as a personal desire to protect oneself and one's loved ones
The 2023 survey confirms:
- Self-reliance is the largest motivator to take preparedness action.
- Lack of information is the top reason for not being more prepared.
Test of the National Emergency Alert
The national alerting system is tested twice a year. Test alerts are an important opportunity for public education in our communities. Use these tests to raise awareness about the local risks and encourage folks to take risk reduction actions.
In 2023, 98% of Albertans reported receiving the test alert on their wireless device. For the alerts:
- 67% think the test alerts are a good thing
- 11% are unhappy with the test alerts
- 22% are neither happy or unhappy with the test alert
These tests are a reminder for all of us to take simple steps towards becoming more prepared. Actions like checking emergency supplies and talking to friends and family about what would have been done if the test alert had been real are small steps everyone can take to reduce risk to future disruptions.
For ideas on how you can use the test alert as a teaching opportunity, download the National Test Alert Day – Guide for Teachers.