Emergency Preparedness Slowly Getting Better in British Columbia

More than three-in-four of the province’s residents are concerned about being personally affected by a fire or an earthquake.

Vancouver, BC [October 6, 2023] – Compared to 2021, the proportion of British Columbians who have taken action in order to face an emergency has increased slightly, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 41% of British Columbians have bought or prepared an emergency kit with supplies they might need in case of a natural disaster, a serious accident, or an incident caused by human error, up two points since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in August 2021.

Just over three-in-ten British Columbians (31%, +3) have put together an emergency plan that includes how to get in touch with family or friends in case of an emergency, and just under one-in-four (24%, +2) have established a meeting place with family or friends in case of an emergency.

“Only 36% of British Columbians aged 18-to-34 and aged 35-to-54 admit to lacking an emergency kit, an emergency plan and a meeting place,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Among their counterparts aged 55 and over, the proportion rises to 48%.”

The two emergencies that British Columbians are concerned the most about are a fire (81%, +1) and an earthquake (76%, +4).

At least three-in-five British Columbians are “very concerned” or “moderately concerned” about high winds (66%, +8), intense rainfall (65%, +12), a flood (63%, +12) or heavy snowfall (60%, +13) personally affecting them. The rating is lower for a toxic spill (56%, +9), a tsunami (51%, +9), a landslide (50%, +11) and a terrorist attack (46%, =).

There are some striking regional differences on some of these concerns. Just under three-in-five residents of Vancouver Island (58%) are worried about facing a tsunami, while three-in-four residents of the Fraser Valley (75%) are worried about being personally affected by floods.

Just over half of British Columbians (55%) “definitely” or “probably” have confidence in the ability of their neighbours to successfully deal with an emergency. The rating is similar for the provincial government (57%, -9) and their municipal government (56%, -7), but decidedly lower for the federal government (49%, -10).

Just over three-in-four British Columbians (75%, +1) believe it is likely that an earthquake strong enough to damage buildings will occur in British Columbia in the next 50 years.

Methodology: Results are based on an online study conducted from September 17 to September 19, 2023, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.

778.929.0490 [e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca