Results of a survey were released during a press conference today at the National Hurricane Center that launched the 2008 National Hurricane Survival Initiative. The survey was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of 1,100 adults in Atlantic and Gulf Coast states.
Amont other things, the survey found that 56% of those surveyed from Texas to Maine have no family disaster plan. And 67% have no hurricane survival kit. These are not passing grades. Unfortunately, the survey did not give results by state, so we don’t know for sure how Florida did. One would think that more people would have plans in Florida than in Maine. But previous surveys indicated that there are still far too many people in Florida without a plan and without hurricane supplies.
Florida Governor Charlie Crist Gov. emphasized individual preparedness and urged people to find room in their tight budgets to buy disaster supplies. National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read said the survey results didn’t surprise him and also stressed the importance of individual preparedness. Florida Division of Emergency Mangement Director Craig Fugate made it clear that residents should not expect the government to be there immediately after a hurricane and urged people who survive hurricanes to consider themselves as first responders. Survivors can take care of their own families first and then check up on their neighbors.
Although none of the seasonal forecasters can tell you with any accuracy exactly where this year’s hurricanes will hit and how strong they will be, I can assure you that hurricanes will develop in the Atlantic basin and that history teaches us that South Florida is the most vulnerable area to hurricanes within the mainland United States. It would be wise to pray for the best but prepare for the worst.
The National Hurricane Survival Initiative is a public education and safety outreach partnership that includes the National Hurricane Center, the National Emergency Mangement Association and the Salvation Army. Corporate sponsors in the project include Plylox and Travelers Insurance. Other elements of this year’s initiative can be found at www.HurricaneSafety.org.