Jennifer Horney1, Cynthia Snider2, Sandra Malone3, Laura Gammons3, and Steve Ramsey4
Previous studies of hurricane preparedness have generally used indirect measures to ascertain household preparedness, including time intervals between preparation and hurricane landfall and past evacuation. This study sought to directly measure hurricane preparedness by asking residents of a high-risk coastal North Carolina county to report whether their household had an evacuation plan and a disaster supply kit with at least 3 days of food and water for each family member and pet as recommended by the American Red Cross.
The survey was conducted six weeks prior to the start of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season. Past hurricane experience increased the likelihood of a household having a disaster supply kit. However, living in multi-unit housing or a mobile home significantly decreased the likelihood of having a disaster supply kit. Past hurricane experience, past evacuation experience and anticipated evacuation under a mandatory evacuation order were important factors related to a household having an evacuation plan.
Residence in a designated flood zone, demographic characteristics of the household, pet ownership, and perceived risk were not significantly related to preparedness. Public health and emergency management officials should work together to determine effective interventions that can improve personal preparedness based on factors other than personal hurricane experience.
Keywords: hurricanes, disaster preparedness, evacuation