The National Household Survey tracks progress in personal disaster preparedness through investigation of the American public's preparedness actions, attitudes, and motivations. FEMA administers the survey in English and Spanish via landline and mobile telephone to a random sampling of approximately 5,000 adult respondents. The survey includes a nationally representative sample as well as hazard-specific oversamples which may include earthquake, flood, wildfire, hurricane, winter storm, extreme heat, tornado, and urban event.
With the release of the raw data, emergency managers, academics and researchers can dig deeper into these findings. With the data on OpenFEMA, you can ask your own questions and analyze the data that is most important to your work and the communities you serve. For example:
- If you are a local emergency manager or provide disaster preparedness outreach, you can use the demographic information to better understand the needs of your community—who is likely to have seen information about how to prepare? Who is most likely to act? Least likely?
- You can also gain insight into people’s emergency planning habits. For example, how many people plan to check on neighbors if there is a tornado? How many plan to use public transportation to evacuate if a hurricane is coming? And which groups of people are most financially prepared for an emergency with savings and adequate insurance?
- If you’re designing new programs or want to improve current outreach, you can use the data to choose the most effective methods for your community based on hazard risk and demographics. Then, use the data to create visualizations for grant applications and reports.
The NHS datasets on OpenFEMA are meant to be used by community stakeholders for analysis and creation of metrics and other materials to better assist them in preparing individuals and communities for disasters. Datasets include the raw, unedited data. As such, users should plan to clean the data as needed prior to analysis. The datasets also include an executive summary, the survey instrument, raw weighted and unweighted data, aggregated data analysis, and a codebook with weighting overviews. In addition to the 2018 data, 2017 data is also available on OpenFEMA.
Users of the NHS datasets should also cite the date the data was accessed or retrieved from fema.gov. In addition, users must clearly state that "FEMA and the Federal Government cannot vouch for the data or analyses derived from these data after the data have been retrieved from the Agency's website.”