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What is the RQ Test?

The RQ (Readiness Quotient) test is a simple online survey to assess how prepared individuals are for an emergency.  

As soon as you take the test, you will receive your “RQ score” (1-10) and links to tips and resources to improve your score – and be better prepared. The RQ test can be taken by individuals and it can also be administered by groups (schools, workplaces, neighborhood associations, county governments or municipalities) to get individual and composite scores.

Who should use the RQ Test?

  • Individuals and families can use the RQ test to find their Readiness Quotient – and get tips and links to information about how to raise their scores;
  • Workplaces can use the RQ test to learn how prepared their employees are and to integrate individual and family preparedness into the workplace emergency plans;
  • Schools can use the RQ test to help students, teachers and parents learn how prepared they are; and to find out how to improve and connect family preparedness to the school plan;
  • Any organization, neighborhood or group can take the test as a group and learn how prepared they are;
  • Local and state government leaders can administer the RQ survey to a random sample of residents to learn how prepared  they are; to pinpoint groups who are more or less prepared, and to target their communications campaigns and programs accordingly.  Municipalities can link to to encourage residents to get their individual scores and link to tips and resources to improve their preparedness. Click here.
  • Local media can use the RQ survey to report on the preparedness of their communities, track progress and identify gaps.

How was the RQ Test developed?

Through rigorous testing and validation, the ten simple questions on the RQ test are the most predicative of an individual’s preparedness for a weather emergency, natural disaster or terrorist attack.

The RQ Test originally began as the Public Readiness Index (PRI) - - a barometer of how prepared individuals and families in a given community (the nation, state, city/town, and geographical region) are for an emergency.  The PRI survey instrument – 10 questions – had been carefully chosen and is the result of many months of consultation, testing, evaluation, and analysis.  The Council worked with a vast array of stakeholders, including first responders, academics, elected and appointed officials, private sector partners, and experts from the emergency management and preparedness community.  The effort was –and continues to be – supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

On January 28, 2005, then U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security Tom Ridge announced that the Council for Excellence in Government, in partnership with the American Red Cross, the George Washington University Homeland Security Policy Institute, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were working to create a Public Readiness Index (PRI). At that time, more than 100 leaders of public, private and civic organizations in the nation’s homeland security enterprise signed a commitment to work together.

The Council for Excellence in Government formed a PRI Advisory Committee with a number of homeland security experts to guide the project by assisting with stakeholder outreach, reviewing drafts of the questionnaire and other communications, and making recommendations on how best to institutionalize and promote the use of the PRI.

Throughout the design, piloting and implementation of the PRI, the Council consulted with a variety of stakeholders, including first responders, elected and appointed officials, academic and policy experts, private sector representatives and voluntary organizations. Council staff also participated in a number of homeland security meetings and conferences, consulted with a large number of private sector and nonprofit homeland security organizations, and briefed Members of Congress and Congressional staff of the Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Oversight Committee, and the House Homeland Security Committee.

The Council worked with a number of survey experts in the development of the PRI, with the nationally recognized research firm of Schulman, Ronca & Bucuvalas, Inc. (SRBI) finalizing the design, piloting the questions, analyzing and overseeing the construction of the index and accompanying questionnaire to measure public readiness in the event of an emergency. The PRI survey instrument was developed through a collaborative and rigorous process.

In 2007, in an effort to make the PRI more consumer-friendly, the concept evolved into the “Readiness Quotient” or “RQ”.


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