Is your community prepared for an emergency evacuation?
A recent survey shows the extent to which Americans have taken measures to prepare for natural disasters or other emergencies.
Some communities are better prepared for emergencies and natural disasters than others. This is a result shown from the Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Just half of the households in America have a prepared emergency evacuation kit; only a third is having communication plans in place and just 37 percent had emergency meeting locations established.
About the survey
25 metro areas took part to this biennial survey and for the most part, people living in the costal areas were more likely to have taken steps in being prepared for emergencies. About 70 percent of surveyed households that have an emergency kit prepared are in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood, other metro areas of Florida, Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Also communication plans, including contingencies for the disruption of cellphone service, were most prevalent in Miami area households (45 percent), followed by Baltimore and northern New Jersey.
In larger regions, results show that communities in the Midwest are less prepared. Only 46 percent of surveyed households have an emergency evacuation kit, while in the North-East and West the percentage is 52 and 55 for the South. In addition not all Midwestern households have emergency supply of water and communication plan in place.
Citizen Corps group have been formed in some communities for coordinating activities aimed at emergency preparedness and disaster response effort. Local councils assist with community outreach and implement local strategies incorporating governments, citizens and volunteer organizations.
A big hurdle for officials is the evacuation of a large number of residents without transportation. 11 percent of the surveyed households do not have access to a vehicle for evacuation purpose; this percentage rises considerably in poorer communities where 28 percent of people below poverty level do not have access to any vehicle.
Lastly, only 7 percent of households surveyed plan to use public shelters in case of evacuation; 70 percent of them plan to reside with friends or relatives and most others would stay in hotels.