Many East Coast, Gulf Coast Residents
Won't Evacuate If Major Hurricane Comes
New Orleans residents an exception to the rule
NEW ORLEANS (May 23, 2008) -- A lack of evacuation plans and procedures is cause for concern,
as amplified in newly released results of a telephone interview study conducted by Opinion Research
Corp. for Allstate Insurance Company.
Of 2,800 residents along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, only two-thirds said they would probably
evacuate if another Katrina was headed their way.
New Orleans is an exception to the rule for many of the survey statistics. 78% of New Orleans
residents surveyed said they have an evacuation plan, compared with only 55% across all of the
coastal areas, and 84% of New Orleanians said they would evacuate if another Katrina-like hurricane
was headed their way, compared with 66 percent across all the other cities surveyed.
Experts predict above average hurricane activity this year, with up to nine major hurricanes. Those
predictions, said Allstate’s National Catastrophe Team Director Les Mertins, together with statistics
uncovered through the survey, "make it clear to Allstate that we need to continue to raise awareness
about hurricane preparedness among coastal residents."
Though 55% of all respondents said they're prepared for a hurricane right now, the majority admitted
to not having an evacuation plan in place for their family or a meeting place away from the coast. That
means they're not prepared.
400 residents were sampled in each of the coastal areas of New Orleans; Houston; Tampa; Virginia
Beach/Norfolk; Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey; Long Island and Wilmington, NC.
The one-third who said they probably wouldn't evacuate gave reasons like feeling safe at home or
protecting their home from looters, even though 70% of hurricane survivors agree that riding out a
hurricane is a very scary experience.
Surprisingly, the survey showed that many Atlantic or Gulf Coast residents could not name many of
the most essential things they need in case of a hurricane. Having cash and a full tank of gas were
mentioned by only about one in 10, indicating the need for better hurricane preparedness awareness.
While two-thirds could name food and water as necessities, less people named other important
survival items such as a flashlight (39%), batteries (30%), radio (18%) and first aid kit (13%).
Families should prepare by creating a well-stocked first-aid kit along with a disaster-supply kit and
keeping them in convenient places. The disaster-supply kit should contain a three-day supply of water
and ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods as well as utensils, personal hygiene items, extra clothes,
blankets and shoes. Travelers checks and extra cash should also be stored in a secure place.
Almost 70% said that if their home were destroyed by a hurricane, they would probably stay in the
area and either rebuild their home (49%) or find another in the same area (21%). Only about one in
four say they would probably move away from the area.
Less than 30% of those living in these hurricane risk areas say they have a separate flood insurance
policy. Regional differences were pronounced, with two-thirds of New Orleans residents saying they
have flood insurance, half in Houston, roughly one-third in Tampa and Wilmington, N.C., and about
one-fourth or less in Virginia Beach, Long Island and the Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey regions.
62% of the respondents said they had not made a list of their possessions in the past year or two in
case of a disaster (compared with 50% of New Orleans residents who have made a list of their
Almost nine out of 10 people in hurricane prone areas say they keep all their important documents in
one place, to easily find them in case of evacuation.
Not surprisingly, 76% also agree that government is moving too slow in developing a comprehensive
plan to prepare and protect Americans from destructive hurricanes and should make this a top
priority. Only 15% of the respondents believe they have time to develop a plan since a storm as
destructive as Katrina is rare.
Allstate Insurance, which released the results has tools and resources available and easily accessible,
including hurricane preparation guides, home inventory check lists, property protection and insurance
coverage information at www.allstate.com/catastrophe.
RELATED: "Hurricane Preparedness"
"It's About More Than Just A Hurricane!"