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The annual Preparedness Survey of Albertans was first conducted in 2021, to measure risk reduction behaviours and preparedness actions across the province. The results are weighted to reflect age, gender and ethnicity across Alberta. Read the survey results.
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.
The survey, which is now in its second year, measures risk awareness and behaviour change over time. The 2022 results confirmed that:
- 43% of Albertans feel unprepared
- those that are most vulnerable to the impacts of disruptions are not born in Canada, low income or identify as having a disability:
- includes a chronic condition that requires daily management
- requires mobility aids, visual aids or consistent care
- a mental health issue that requires daily management
- although concern about the hazards in our province has gone up, the number of people taking actions to reduce their risk is down
Risk literacy is being able to understand and recognize potential hazards. This can include both:
- physical risks – such as the possibility of an accident or disaster
- more abstract risks – like the possibility of not being able to access funds via debit or credit cards due to systems outages
Risk literacy means not only being aware of possible risks, but also knowing how likely they are and how bad they could be – and taking steps to reduce or avoid them when you can.
Overall, in 2022, Albertans:
- are more concerned about hazards like power or water outages, tornadoes or high winds, severe drought and flooding
- concerns about extreme heat nearly doubled from 35% to 64%
- concerns about extreme cold remained between 66% and 75%
Hazard concern varies, depending on the part of Alberta a person lives:
- northern Alberta – wildfires: 71%
- western Alberta – power and water outage: 74%
- eastern Alberta – severe drought 68%
- southern Alberta – wildfires 60%, severe drought 74%
Learn more about hazard preparedness.
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
- disaster-resistant construction
- practicing emergency drills
Most Albertans who had taken preparedness actions in 2022 plan to keep doing them or build on them over the next year.
In 2022, Albertans’ top 3 preparedness behaviours were to:
- get informed – 56% made sure they get emergency messaging before an emergency occurs (example: signing up for alerts)
- get insurance – 43% have proper insurance
- gather supplies – 41% have enough supplies to shelter in place
Learn more about how you can reduce your risk 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
Ultimately, the specific motivators for risk reduction behaviour will vary depending on the individual or community.
In 2022, Albertans reported the following reasons for taking (or not taking) preparedness action:
- 40% reported they took preparedness action because they want to be self-reliant.
- Those who do not feel prepared reported a lack of money as the top reason for not being prepared.
- Other reasons for not being prepared included a lack of information and procrastination.
Alberta Emergency Alert test
The national alerting system is tested twice a year. This gives us all a chance to practice being prepared when the risk is low, so that we are ready when the risk is high.
In 2022, the surveyed Albertans reported these results:
- 97% remember getting the Alberta Emergency Alert test on their wireless device in the past year
- 70% think the test alerts are a good thing
- 6% are unhappy with the test alerts
When the test occurs, we can all take small steps like checking essential supplies and having conversations with friends and family to become more prepared.
Learn more about Alberta Emergency Alerts.
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