How prepared are people in the Northwest for “The Big One?”

According to the 2016 PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll, three-quarters (77 percent) of Washington and Oregon residents expect they’ll experience a big-time earthquake here, but despite that fear, only half (52 percent) say they’re at least somewhat prepared, and two out of five (39 percent) admit they aren’t prepared at all.

According to the poll, renters are among the least prepared for an emergency. About half of Northwest renters (55 percent) admit they haven’t taken steps to prepare for a natural disaster, compared to just one-third (30 percent) of homeowners who said the same. Owning an emergency kit is one step in prepping for disasters, and PEMCO’s poll finds renters are far less likely than homeowners to have one (35 percent vs. 58 percent).

How about you? How ready are you if/when the big one hits?

In your lifetime, how likely do you think it is that there will be a major earthquake in the Pacific Northwest that does substantial and serious damage to people and property?
Total OR
29 27 Very likely
48 47 Somewhat likely
17 19 Not too likely
2 3 Not at all likely
4 4 Don’t know
If a natural disaster happened, how prepared are you?
Total OR
8 8 Very prepared
52 51 Somewhat prepared
39 40 Not prepared
1 1 Don’t know
Does your family have an emergency kit with basic items like food, water, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight and first-aid kit?
Total OR
50 49 Yes
48 49 No
2 2 Don’t know
Did your household put together your own kit, or did you purchase a kit that was pre-packaged?
Total OR
87 89 We put together our own kit
11 10 We purchased a pre-packaged kit
2 1 Don’t know

About the PEMCO Insurance Northwest Poll
PEMCO 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, 600 respondents in Washington and 600 in Oregon, yields an accuracy of +/- 4.1 percent at the 95 percent 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.

About PEMCO Insurance
PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, and umbrella insurance to Northwest residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold to consumers by the method they choose – phone, local community agents, or online. For more information, visit

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