Poll Finds L.A. Leads in Disaster Readiness

Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles residents are more prepared for disasters than people in most other large cities, according to a Duracell/Harris Interactive study of disaster preparedness to be released today.

Forty-eight percent of households in Los Angeles -- the highest rank among America's 10 largest cities -- said they have a disaster plan.

New Yorkers are the least prepared, though they are the most fearful of terrorist attacks, according to the poll.

The poll also found that even though residents on the earthquake-prone West Coast are more prepared, the majority of households still don't have a family plan for dealing with a disaster.

Only 36% of households nationwide reported having a disaster supply kit in the home. In Los Angeles, 49% said they had kits; in San Francisco, 57%. The kits usually contain food and water supplies, flashlights and a portable radio.

"This data should be a wake-up call," said Catherine Shores, vice president of Harris Interactive.

"Despite the fact that the country recently reached Code Orange, the second-highest level of preparedness, most Americans still are not properly prepared for a disaster."

Poll officials speculated that West Coast residents seemed better prepared because of the area's history of earthquakes.

"My suspicion is that in the West, there is an intensive educational effort to get people to have earthquake preparedness kits," said Shawn Wade, a senior manager at Harris Interactive.

Harris Interactive conducted interviews over a one-week period last month among 2,012 Americans in 10 cities. The margin of error for the total sample was plus or minus 2.2%. The margin of error for each of the cities was plus or minus 6.9%.

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