Despite Experiencing Disasters, Majority of Americans are Still Unprepared for Emergencies, According to New BELFOR Survey

A national survey released today by BELFOR Holdings, Inc. (BELFOR), the world's largest disaster recovery and property restoration company, found that although nearly 7 in 10 Americans surveyed have lived through a disaster that affected their home, 71% do not feel that they are well prepared for future disasters.

BELFOR – which includes BELFOR Property Restoration and BELFOR Franchise Group – conducted its annual, independent, national survey of homeowners and renters across the U.S. to measure disaster preparedness in recognition of National Preparedness Month in September.

Key findings of the survey, which was designed to evaluate how prepared Americans are for both natural and man-made disasters, include:

  • 46% of respondents stated that they have created an emergency preparedness plan, a significant increase from 32% in 2020. Millennials were most likely to have a plan in place (62%), followed by GenXers (50%) and Baby Boomers (32%).
  • Nearly 7 in 10 respondents have lived through a natural or man-made disaster. Power outages were the most frequent disasters (39%), followed by flooding (18%) and hurricanes and blizzards (both 15%).
  • Of those who have lived through a disaster, nearly 4 in 10 felt they were not prepared.
  • Nearly half of respondents who have not made an emergency preparedness plan say it is because they have never thought about it.

"2021 has been an incredibly difficult year for so many – not just due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but because of extreme weather events across our country that have affected the lives of millions," said Sheldon Yellen, CEO of BELFOR. "The time to plan for emergencies is before disaster strikes. As we release the results of our annual national preparedness survey, we hope these findings encourage individuals, families and entire communities to create emergency plans while jumpstarting a national conversation about the importance of disaster preparedness."

The 2021 survey also sought to gain a deeper understanding of homeowners' and renters' home maintenance needs. Insights include:

  • Over half of respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic has made them more aware of home upkeep and maintenance needs.
    • Increased cleanliness was a top priority, with 56% of respondents engaging in home deep cleaning since March 2020.
    • The main reason for working on home maintenance projects was to avoid costly future repairs (45%).
  • Only a third of all respondents (32%) felt their home and family were very or extremely prepared in the event of an emergency such as a burst pipe or kitchen fire. 
  • For respondents who experienced a disaster that affected their home, 57% of them used a professional service to repair the damage. Millennials were most likely to use a service (72%), followed by GenXers (64%), versus Boomers (33%).
  • Homeowners' and renters' fears about disasters vary by region – most concerning are earthquakes (West), tornadoes (Midwest and Southwest) and hurricanes (South).

"The survey results speak for themselves: Americans are thinking about home maintenance and improvement now, more than ever before," said Rusty Amarante, president of BELFOR Franchise Group. "When emergencies occur, they're often looking for professional, reliable outside services to tackle serious challenges and bring their homes back to life. Our family of franchise brands represent some of the most trusted names in cleaning, restoration and more, and we'll continue to work around the clock to help Americans maintain their homes as well as recover from disasters."

For tips and information on how to prepare your household or workplace for disaster, click here.

BELFOR Holdings, Inc. is a $2 billion entity that operates a number of companies around the world, many of which complement the core work provided in the restoration industry, including BELFOR Property Restoration, the world's largest disaster restoration company. For nearly 75 years, BELFOR has provided residential, commercial and industrial customers every service needed to help return to normal operations in the aftermath of man-made or natural disasters, including the global COVID-19 pandemic. From water and flood restoration services, fire and smoke recovery, structural damage repair, disinfection services and biohazard cleaning, to the recovery and restoration of equipment and vital documents, BELFOR has a rapid and proven response. BELFOR companies operate in more than 55 countries with 450+ offices employing over 9,200 full-time experienced restoration specialists who are dedicated to "Restoring More Than Property." For more information, please visit  

BELFOR Franchise Group is the world's largest residential and commercial services franchise group based on geographic footprint and number of units. The privately held, multi-concept franchise system is a division of BELFOR Property Restoration, the world's largest disaster restoration company. For over a decade, BELFOR Franchise Group has empowered entrepreneurs by offering industry-leading training, support and equipment, proven business models, and ongoing coaching and business development. BELFOR Franchise Group is the parent organization for 11 of the strongest service-based franchise opportunities for home and commercial cleaning, renovation and restoration. The franchise brands include: 1-800 WATER DAMAGE, Chem-Dry® & Upholstery Cleaning, Delta Restoration Services®, DUCTZ International, HOODZ® International, N-Hance® Wood Refinishing, Blue Kangaroo Packoutz, The Patch Boys®, redbox+®, WINMAR®, and Z PLUMBERZ. For more information, please visit

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