Despite Sandy’s Damage, Many Coastal Residents Still Unprepared for Hurricanes in 2013

Red Cross/Weather Channel survey finds 63 percent of Southern Atlantic coastal residents are concerned about being in harm’s way of a hurricane or flood

EASTERN, NC, Friday, May 31, 2013 — A new survey shows that 63 percent of Southern Atlantic coastal county residents are concerned about being in harm’s way of a hurricane or flood, as forecasters are predicting a busy Atlantic hurricane season .hurricane-safety-tips

The survey by the American Red Cross and The Weather Channel, conducted earlier this month of 1,412 residents of coastal counties from Texas to Maine, found that among all coastal counties, 58 percent of the respondents were very or somewhat concerned they could be in harm’s way of a hurricane in 2013.

The 63 percent concern level among Southern Atlantic coastal counties was above the overall figure and second only to Gulf Coast residents at 65 percent, with 56 percent for New Jersey and New York coastal counties, and 43 percent for New England.

While Superstorm Sandy raised awareness for the need to prepare for hurricanes and flooding, overall the survey reveals little evidence that people in any coastal areas have taken the necessary preparedness steps.

About one in five (22 percent) of coastal residents of the Southern Atlantic Coast (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and the eastern coast of Florida) said that Superstorm Sandy prompted them to take more actions to prepare than they did last hurricane season, far less than the overall figure of 58 percent for all respondents from coastal states. This was a similar ratio to Gulf Coast residents (21 percent), but lower than those in New York and New Jersey (49 percent) and New England (27 percent).

Many Southern Atlantic coastal residents have taken some preparedness steps, but nearly one in 10 (9 percent) said they had not taken any of a series of recommended readiness actions. Among those in Southern Atlantic coastal counties, 73 percent had emergency supplies of water, food and medicine; 68 percent had a small disaster kit; 54 percent had a family plan on how to communicate in an emergency; 40 percent had an established meeting place if family members were separated; 36 percent had practiced their emergency plan; 34 percent had taken first aid or CPR training in the past five years and 29 percent had volunteered to help prepare for or respond to a disaster.

“Southern Atlantic coast residents are no stranger to hurricanes, but sometimes memories fade when we were lucky enough to be spared in the past few years,” said Bill Brent, CEO for the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross. “We need to remember that our coasts are vulnerable to hurricanes and take action now. People should create a family evacuation plan, get needed supplies and medications, and download a free Red Cross hurricane app as one of the many steps to be prepared.”

About a quarter (26 percent) of Southern Atlantic coast survey respondents say they live in an area that is likely to flood in a hurricane or heavy rain. This is less than the 36 percent in the Gulf Coast counties, but more than the 12 percent in New England and 21 percent in New York/New Jersey coastal counties.

Other key overall survey findings include:

  • Local TV news remains the most popular source of emergency information (94 percent), followed closely by The Weather Channel (85 percent).
  • Smart phone apps are providing coastal residents with new ways to prepare for emergencies, and 14 percent have downloaded a smart phone app that could help them in emergency situations.
  • One in five households now has member with a health issue or disability. A quarter of those households are not confident they have a plan to meet these medical needs in an emergency.

The Red Cross and The Weather Channel urge everyone to update their family evacuation plan, emergency preparedness kit and get better prepared for this hurricane season:

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit with food and water, and other basic supplies for each family member to last at least three days. Remember to include essential medications, copies of important documents and special items for children and pets.
  • Plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate with your child’s school, your work and community’s emergency plans.
  • Be informed about what disasters or emergencies may occur where you live, work, play and pray, and how to respond as safely as possible. Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information.

Red Cross and Weather Channel resources and tools can help make preparedness easier:

  • Download any of the Red Cross free disaster-specific mobile apps—particularly the Hurricane and First Aid apps—to get lifesaving preparedness information in the palm of your hand before and during emergencies. Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
  • Download The Weather Channel app and log on to weather.com for accurate and up-to-the-minute severe weather reports in your community. Visit the “Safety and Preparedness” section of weather.com for life-saving information including videos, tools and tips to help you prepare for a weather emergency.
  • Use the Red Cross Ready Rating™ Program (readyrating.org). It’s a free, web-based program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools to become better prepared. Members complete a self assessment of their current readiness level and receive immediate, customized feedback with resources to improve preparedness. First Aid Emergency Drills help businesses train their staff for emergencies and disasters.
  • View free checklists at redcross.org/preparednessfastfacts.

When severe weather strikes, no network is more dedicated to keeping people safe and prepared than The Weather Channel.  With over 200 meteorologists delivering expert tracking and round-the-clock reporting, The Weather Channel keeps you informed in the event of a weather disaster.

More on what to do before, during and after a hurricane can be found at:  redcross.org/prepare/disaster/hurricane. An infographic on the survey findings can be viewed here.

 

Survey details:

Telephone survey of 1,412 U.S. adults 18 years and older residing in coastal counties from Maine to Texas. Survey conducted in May 16-22, 2013 by Issues and Answers. Margin of error is +/-2.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

  • Southern Atlantic Coast (East coast of Florida to Delaware): 303 respondents
  • New Jersey/New York Coast: 406 respondents
  • Gulf Coast (Texas to west coast of Florida): 300 respondents
  • New England Coast (Connecticut to Maine): 403 respondents

 

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

 

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Rocky Mount Kayaker will Paddle 220 Miles to raise $14,000 for Red Cross

EASTERN, NC, May 9, 2013 Starting in Coinjock and ending in Surf City, Larry Williamson will navigate 220 miles along the inner coastal waterways of NC with his kayak and a few supplies. On May 18th, Williamson will embark on his adventure that will take approximately 12 days and 73 hours of paddling.  His goal is to raise $14,000 to support the American Red Cross as part of the Eastern NC Heroes Campaign.

“I heard so many stories from so many individuals about how the Red Cross was the first one there to help when they personally needed it – this touched me,” recalls Williamson. “It moved me to want to do something personal to support such a worthwhile effort and the Heroes Campaign is a great opportunity to do that.”

‘Heroes’ for the American Red Cross is a grassroots fundraising and awareness campaign that gives community members the chance to make a big, lasting difference. Heroes pledge to raise $1,000 or more for the Red Cross during the campaign. Heroes can raise the money personally, as an organization, or by hosting a fundraising event.

“Having a passion for the coast and water activities, I decided I could combine my desire to support the Red Cross efforts and my passion for the water,” said Williamson.

Williamson will kayak through 15 coastal counties of NC that are often victim to flooding and storm damage.  In addition to large disasters like Hurricane Irene, the 2011 spring tornadoes, and Superstorm Sandy, the Eastern NC Region of the American Red Cross has responded to hundreds of home fires every year that affected thousands of local residents.

“I have become increasing aware of just how many lives volunteers and members of the Red Cross touch on a daily basis,” remarked Williamson.  “You cannot help but be touched by the commitment and the sincere desire of these individuals to be there for others when they need it the most”.

Williamson resides in Rocky Mount with his wife Carolyn and is a proud board member for the Frederick E. Turnage Chapter of the American Red Cross in Rocky Mount.  He has always had a passion for water and water activities of all kinds and has been paddling for 40 years.

“As our Heroes Campaign Chair, Larry was not willing to lead in voice alone,” said Lynwood Roberson, CEO for the Frederick E. Turnage Chapter of the American Red Cross. “He is leading with action by making a 14 day kayaking trek along the inner coastal waterways to raise funds that will be used to help us carryout the Red Cross mission.”

“We are proud to have Larry as one of our leadership volunteers in Rocky Mount,” said Roberson.

Find out more about Larry Williamson’s Kayak Fundraiser or visit Larry Williamson’s Personal Fundraising Page.

 

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Red Cross Assists 14 Tarboro Residents after Apartment Fire

TARBORO, NC May 9, 2013 — The Red Cross assisted 11 adults and 3 children who were displaced by an early morning fire at Northgate Apartments in Tarboro. Red Cross disaster volunteers, Peter and Ann Wright, received a call around 6am to respond to the fire that damaged 4 apartment units.

“When we arrived the fire department had cleared the scene and the families were waiting outside trying to figure out what to do next,” said Ann Wright. “They were upset but grateful that everyone had gotten out safely.”

The Wrights spent several hours on scene and met with each of the families whose homes had been affected by the blaze to offer emotional support and determine their immediate emergency needs.

“We spent all morning with the families helping them figure out what to do next,” said Wright. “They really appreciated the assistance and we were glad we could help.”

Two of the apartments were badly damaged and the other two were affected by smoke.  The Red Cross provided the families with temporary lodging and assistance for food, clothing, and other necessities.

So far this year, the Frederick E. Turnage Chapter of the American Red Cross has responded to nearly 50 home fires, and provided assistance to more than 150 local residents.  All disaster assistance is provided free of charge to anyone who has experienced a verifiable disaster.

The Red Cross depends on the generous support of our local community to respond to our neighbors who are affected by home fires such as these.  You can help the Red Cross continue to be ready to respond by becoming a volunteer or by making a financial contribution.  Visit redcross.org/turnage or call the (252) 977-1720 to find out how you can support your local Red Cross.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

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Red Cross Donates 25,000 Heater Meals to Food Bank of the Albemarle

ELIZABETH CITY, NC, May 1, 2013 This week, the Greater Albemarle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross donated 25,000 HeaterMeals valued at $130,000 to the Food Bank of the Albemarle. The Red Cross works closely with the Food Bank to prepare for and respond to disasters.  The Food Bank generously allows the Red Cross to store disaster food supplies in their warehouse.heatermeals

“We are proud to partner with our friends at the Food Bank of the Albemarle,” said Carolyn Self, Executive Director of the Greater Albemarle Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. “Thanks to the Food Bank, we are prepared to feed our community in the event of a disaster.”

As part of local disaster preparedness planning, the Red Cross keeps an inventory of supplies including nonperishable food which can be used during emergencies. Disaster supplies are periodically replenished as they near their expiration dates and the products are donated to local partner agencies.  A new inventory of HeaterMeals will be delivered to replace the donated goods.

The Red Cross uses HeaterMeals and other food supplies to help feed volunteers and those who have been affected by disaster such as hurricanes, floods, and fires after which electricity is not available. HeaterMeals are self-heating, shelf-stable emergency food products, with a shelf-life of up to 5 years, based on the production date and storage temperature. These products offer a warm meal which can provide a small comfort during times of need.

Personal preparedness kits should include a 3-day supply of shelf-stable, non-perishable emergency food items such as HeaterMeals.  Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.

When emergencies happen, the Red Cross mobilizes to provide shelter, food, counseling and other lifesaving services. Contact your local Red Cross at 252-335-2185 or visit redcross.org  to find out more about how you can prepare your home and family, workplace, and school.

 

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies more than 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.