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Most Boomers Are Unprepared for Disasters

A survey finds that most lack a plan for hurricanes, fires or other catastrophes

Emergency preparedness supplies, including a flashlight, backpack, batteries, water bottles, first aid kit, lantern, radio and can opener

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Only 41 percent of boomers have prepared an emergency kit to help them cope with a natural disaster, and just 38 percent have a household plan for what they might do in the wake of such an event, according to a survey of 2,007 U.S. adults by Farmers Insurance. Only 22 percent of boomers have both precautions in place, the survey found.

Millennials are better prepared, with 49 percent having a kit and 44 percent having a plan.

Boomers also may be neglecting to put important items in their disaster kits. Forty percent said their prescription medicines were among the most important items to include, but just 10 percent cited extra batteries and/or a backup power supply as important must-haves.

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Additionally, about 1 in 5 boomers who have kits have gone more than a year without checking the items in them to make sure that they haven’t expired and are in working order.

Farmers Insurance also found that 43 percent of boomers don’t feel confident that they could rebound financially from a disaster. Nineteen percent of boomers said they have no savings at all to rely upon in the event of catastrophe.  

These gaps in preparation are surprising since the survey also found that 68 percent of boomers have experienced a natural disaster as an adult, including 36 percent who’ve lived through hurricanes.

Older generations might need to prepare differently than younger ones, Jarrod Murrieta, head of claims catastrophe response for Farmers, said via email. “Older adults may be more vulnerable during a natural disaster because they may have physical limitations or health conditions that make it challenging for them to respond quickly during an extreme event,” he said.