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.

 

About The Weather Company

Where the World Gets its Weather

Through The Weather Channel, weather.com, Weather Underground, Intellicast.com, and third-party publishing partners, the company provides millions of people every day with the world’s best weather forecasts, content and data, connecting with them through television, online, mobile and tablet screens. Through WSI and Weather Central, the company delivers superior professional weather services for the media, aviation, marine and energy sectors. The Weather Company is owned by a consortium made up of NBC Universal and the private equity firms The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital. For more information, visit www.weather.com/press.

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