Poll: In a Pinch, Call MacGyver

Resourceful, mullet-coifed MacGyver is Americans’ top choice for fictional help in a disaster situation where government aid wasn’t available, according to a new survey.

MacGyver, as played by Richard Dean Anderson on ABC (1985-92), was famous for getting out of tough spots by manipulating available objects like chewing gum and a ballpoint pen. If a hurricane, flood or other disaster struck and community and government services were overburdened, he’d be the choice of 27% of Americans seeking a fictional hero.

Others: Indiana Jones (16%), as portrayed by Harrison Ford; John McClane (14%), played by Bruce Willis in the Die Hard movies; Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne (8%); 24’s Jack Bauer (7%) and Tomb Raider heroine Lara Croft (7%).

“While we would want help from MacGyver or any fictional hero during an emergency situation, the reality is we need to be prepared,” Brigadier General (Ret.) David L. Grange, CEO of the McCormick Tribune Foundation, said in a release. “By being prepared, individuals and communities can handle the initial 72 hours after a disaster and may serve as temporary alternatives to government resources.”

The McCormick Tribune Foundation wants Americans to create their own disaster response plans and assemble emergency kits with essentials like a three-day supply of water and nonperishable food, a flashlight and radio, extra batteries, a blanket, a first-aid kit and cash. It encourages people to find more information about disaster preparedness at mccormicktribune.org, the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The survey found 61% of Americans have set aside a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, a first-aid kit, water and several days of non perishable food. But given 30 minutes to gather belongings before evacuating their homes, just 6% of people said they would take their emergency kit.

Respondents did say they would make sure to take their legal documents (35%), and photographs (29%). Just 11% said they would take food and only 8% would bring water. Although potentially critical to their health, only 4% said they would bring their medicines, the same percentage who said they would bring a gun or other weapon.

The Bible was an essential emergency item for 3% of respondents.

The random, scientific telephone survey of 1,049 American adults (18 years and older) was conducted Aug. 24-27 by Opinion Research Corp. for the McCormick Tribune Foundation.