Mixed Bag in Survey of Floridians' Hurricane Readiness

The Florida Division of Emergency Management released the surveys findings June 1, timed for the start of the 2010 hurricane season. Financial costs were mentioned more often than in 2006 as a possible barrier to evacuation.

A survey released June 1 by the Florida Division of Emergency Management shows the number of residents who have a definite evacuation plan is down slightly from the number who had them in 2006, which followed a unusually active hurricane period in 2004-2005. Most respondents this time said they have Internet access, but few have visited their county or state emergency management agency's websites to look up hurricane information, the new survey indicated.

The release as timed for the start of what is predicted to be a busy 2010 hurricane season. Most questions in 2006 and 2010 used exactly the same wording to make the results comparable; the latter one was conducted in April 2010 by telephone with 876 Florida residents.

Financial costs were mentioned more often than in 2006 as a possible barrier to evacuation.

"While a large number of Floridians have taken the time to prepare for the upcoming hurricane season, this survey still shows us we have much work to do," Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said. "I urge all Floridians to go to www.FloridaDisaster.org today and make sure their families are prepared for what could be a busy season in the tropical Atlantic. We must all do our part to ensure we can focus our efforts after a hurricane on our most vulnerable populations."

David Halstead, the division's director, called the results "extremely encouraging" because the level of preparedness has not waned since 2006 despite the fact no major hurricanes struck Florida since then. But it also shows many residents aren't preparing as they should, he added.

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