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Northwest residents are more prepared for an emergency than ever before

September 15, 2020 by PEMCO Insurance

When it comes to planning for an emergency, Northwest residents are prepped and ready. That's according to the latest poll from PEMCO Mutual Insurance, which recently found that significantly more residents in the Seattle and Portland metro areas have taken steps to plan for an emergency situation, compared to five years ago. But it's not for reasons you might think.

The PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll found that two-thirds of Seattle-area residents (66%), and more than half of Portlanders (57%) said they've prepared an emergency kit with necessities such as food, water and first-aid supplies. This represents double-digit increases over the number of residents who had readily prepared kits in 2015, when only 51% of residents in Seattle and 44% in Portland said the same.

Surprisingly, the vast majority report that the current pandemic had little to do with their preparedness. Fewer than one in ten residents (7%) said that they complied their supplies after the pandemic started. In fact, the majority of respondents (53%) said their kits were already packed and ready before COVID-19 became a reality.

"We're really encouraged to see so many Northwest residents stepping up to the plate to prepare for an emergency – whether it's a natural disaster, a pandemic, or other urgent situation," said PEMCO spokesperson Derek Wing. "We never know what's around the corner, especially this year, and it's particularly reassuring to see that more residents are thinking proactively about future scenarios, which is essentially what emergency preparedness is all about."

In the Seattle area specifically, nearly three times as many residents are confident that they are very prepared now, compared to 2015 (21% vs 8%). Portland-area residents shared similar opinions: In 2015, only 6% of residents said they were very prepared; today that number has doubled to 13%. 

Seattle homeowners tend to make up the bulk of the "very prepared" group, as well. In 2020, about a quarter of homeowners (24%) said they are more than ready for a future natural disaster, while 12% of renters said the same.

And while there was little difference in Portland between homeowners' and renters' preparedness, the poll shows a slight increase in renters' likelihood in both Seattle and Portland to have an emergency kit. More than half of renters in Seattle and Portland (51%) report having an emergency kit of their own now, compared to 46% in 2015.

For a complete summary of PEMCO's proprietary poll results visit, where you'll find responses collected by FBK Research of Seattle in June 2020.


About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll

PEMCO Mutual Insurance commissioned this independent survey, conducted by FBK Research of Seattle, that asked Washington and Oregon residents questions about driving habits and attitudes toward current Northwest issues. The sample size, 578 respondents in Washington and 427 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.2 and 4.8% respectively at the 95% confidence level. In other words, if this study were conducted 100 times, in 95 instances the data will not vary by more than the associated error range.

Supplemental interviews were conducted with people living in the Seattle metro area, including King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, and those in the Portland metro area, including Clackamas, Marion, Multnomah and Washington counties. The sample size, 578 respondents in the Seattle area and 509 in the Portland area, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.2% and +/- 4.4% respectively at the 95% confidence level.

About PEMCO Mutual Insurance

PEMCO Mutual Insurance is the Defender of Your Northwest, providing auto, home, renters and boat coverage. We are consistently recognized for outstanding service, employee expertise and social impact. Our Mutual Good programs raise the achievement levels for youth in education; build stronger, greener environments; and increase safety at home, on the road and at play. Our mission: Free our communities to worry less and live more.

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