Despite Sandy’s Damage, U.S. Coastal Residents Still Unprepared

Red Cross/Weather Channel sound the alarm after survey finds coastal residents have a false sense of security

WASHINGTON, Friday, May 31, 2013 — Less than a year after Superstorm Sandy, a new survey shows that few Americans living in coastal counties have taken necessary action to prepare for severe storms even as forecasters are predicting a busy 2013 hurricane season.

The survey by the American Red Cross and The Weather Channel found that overall, nearly six in 10 (58 percent) of those surveyed say they are very or somewhat concerned that they will be in harm’s way because of a hurricane, similar to poll results from 2007. Still, only about half of those surveyed have an evacuation plan or a plan for communicating with family members if they get separated. Nearly a third of people did not know where to stay in an evacuation or did not have an emergency kit with supplies.

Even if few are taking steps to get ready, Superstorm Sandy has raised awareness of the need to prepare, especially in areas hit hardest by the storm last year. Coastal residents of New York and New Jersey were most likely to take action to prepare. The survey found that 56 percent of New York and New Jersey coastal respondents were concerned they could be in harm’s way of a hurricane in 2013, and 49 percent said their Sandy experience has encouraged them to take more steps to prepare for this hurricane season.

“The Red Cross and The Weather Channel are sounding the alarm to move people from concern to action,” said Richard Reed, senior vice president of disaster cycle services at the Red Cross. “The time to prepare is now, whether it’s downloading a disaster app, creating your family’s evacuation plan or making sure you have extra supplies of medication on hand.”

"Covering severe weather and seeing firsthand the devastation it can cause is a constant reminder for me of how important it is to be prepared,” said Jim Cantore, meteorologist and storm tracker for The Weather Channel. “We want to save lives and the best way to do that is by keeping people informed and helping them prepare before severe weather strikes."

Other key survey findings include:

  • Local TV news remains the most popular source of emergency information (94 percent), followed closely by The Weather Channel (85 percent).
  • One in five households now has member with a health issue or disability. A quarter of those households are not confident they have a plan to meet these medical needs in an emergency.
  • Smart phone apps are providing coastal residents with new ways to prepare for emergencies, and 14 percent have downloaded a smart phone app that could help them in emergency situations.
  • The Red Cross and The Weather Channel urge everyone to update their family evacuation plan, emergency preparedness kit and get better prepared for this hurricane season:

  • Create an emergency preparedness kit with food and water, and other basic supplies for each family member to last at least three days. Remember to include essential medications, copies of important documents and special items for children and pets.
  • Plan what to do in case you are separated from your family during an emergency and what to do if you have to evacuate. Coordinate with your child’s school, your work and community’s emergency plans.
  • Be informed about what disasters or emergencies may occur where you live, work, play and pray, and how to respond as safely as possible. Find out how local officials will contact you during a disaster and how you will get important information. 
  • Red Cross and Weather Channel resources and tools can help make preparedness easier: 

  • Download any of the Red Cross free disaster-specific mobile apps—particularly the Hurricane and First Aid apps—to get lifesaving preparedness information in the palm of your hand before and during emergencies. Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to
  • Download The Weather Channel app and log on to for accurate and up-to-the-minute severe weather reports in your community. Visit the "Safety and Preparedness" section of for life-saving information including videos, tools and tips to help you prepare for a weather emergency.
  • Use the Red Cross Ready Rating™ Program ( It’s a free, web-based program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools to become better prepared. Members complete a self assessment of their current readiness level and receive immediate, customized feedback with resources to improve preparedness. First Aid Emergency Drills help businesses train their staff for emergencies and disasters. 
  • View free checklists at
  • When severe weather strikes, no network is more dedicated to keeping people safe and prepared than The Weather Channel. With over 200 meteorologists delivering expert tracking and round-the-clock reporting, The Weather Channel keeps you informed in the event of a weather disaster. 

    More on what to do before, during and after a hurricane can be found at: An infographic on the survey findings can be viewed here.

    Survey details:

    Telephone survey of 1,412 U.S. adults 18 years and older residing in coastal counties from Maine to Texas.

  • Gulf Coast (Texas to west coast of Florida): 300 respondents
  • Southern Atlantic Coast (East coast of Florida to Delaware): 303 respondents
  • New Jersey/New York Coast: 406 respondents
  • New England Coast (Connecticut to Maine): 403 respondents
  • Survey conducted in May 16-22, 2013 by Issues and Answers. Margin of error is +/-2.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. Where appropriate, survey results from an August 2007 have been included. This was a telephone survey of 751 U.S. adults 18 years and older residing in coastal counties from Maine to Texas with a supplemental sample of 150 Gulf Coast residents. Results are also referenced from February 2004 and May 2001 polls which included 500 randomly selected respondents living in coastal counties from Maine to Texas.

    Contact: Red Cross Public Affairs Desk, Telephone: (202) 303-5551, FOR MEDIA ONLY

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    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.