Monday marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Irma’s landfall in Florida and a new survey shows Floridians are doing a better job of preparing their pets for a storm then they are of preparing themselves.
“We did get some good news out of the survey. I think the pets are going to be okay,” said Craig Fugate, former FEMA director. “When we asked folks about disaster supplies, it turns out they’re doing pretty good on the pets, not doing so good on the people.”
The survey was conducted by a coalition of groups called the National Hurricane Survival Initiative and Get Ready, Florida! It was released Monday as three named storms, including Hurricane Florence, move across the Atlantic.
It shows that despite the extensive damage caused a year ago by Irma, a category four storm that caused damage to much of the state, Floridians still aren’t doing enough to prepare themselves for hurricane season whether it be storing supplies, strengthening their homes or readying their evacuation plans.
The survey shows that 1 in 5 Floridians still say they would not evacuate even when a Category 4 storm is forecast to come within 10 miles of their home. Meanwhile, more than half of Floridians who live in evacuation zones have disregarded recommendations to leave ahead of a powerful storm.
Fugate says those are two of the most alarming findings of the initiative’s survey.
“You’d think that after Irma caused so much damage and cost so many lives in Florida last year, more people would understand what’s at stake,” said Fugate. “You simply can’t take for granted that the storm will go somewhere else, or that your home will be fine. Floridians really have to take these risks seriously and be prepared for the worst, because it could come at any time.”
Other findings that caught the attention of those associated with the survey indicate a growing number of people don’t know that a generator needs proper venting to avoid a deadly build up of odorless carbon monoxide gases.
More than a third of residents who live less than two miles of the coast don’t have flood insurance despite their chances of sustaining water damage from storm surge.
Homeowners need to do a better job of securing their garage doors in a storm. Fugate says if a garage door is breached it can result in major damage to a house,
More than half of homeowners and renters don’t realize what their insurance policies cover in a hurricane.
“It’s easy to assume your insurance will cover whatever happens during a hurricane, but that’s a huge mistake,” said Kevin McCarty, a member of Assured Risk Cover’s Board of Advisors, “Parametric insurance covers all of those excluded expenses, and the funds can even be applied toward a hurricane deductible.”
The survey found that 40% of Floridians have lived within an evacuation zone and received a recommendation to evacuate, but almost 3 in 5 of them have chosen to stay in place.
“I get it – evacuating isn’t easy or convenient, and neither is keeping a generator outside during and right after a storm. But that’s nowhere the near the pain and suffering that could be caused when you take a risk by staying in place or failing to take proper precautions,” Fugate said
Partners for Get Ready, Florida! and the National Hurricane Survival Initiative are the FAIR Foundation, the International Hurricane Research Center at Florida International University, the National Emergency Management Association, Craig Fugate, and TheSalvation Army.
The survey of 1,000 Floridians was conducted from Aug. 23 to Sept. 2. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.