The importance of hurricane preparedness can be demonstrated with a single statistic—for every $1 invested in disaster mitigation, $6 is saved in damages and repairs. This finding from the National Institute of Building Science clearly shows how hurricane preparedness is much better for your bank account.
However, we were curious if people’s actual disaster preparedness matched the recommendations from FEMA and other authorities. Are residents in hurricane-prone states ready for the upcoming hurricane season with high winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, and power outages?
How Many People Are Prepared for the 2021 Hurricane Season?
In a survey of more than 600 residents living in hurricane-prone states, we learned about the storm preparations that are being taken before the 2021 hurricane season. Respondents live in Florida, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Maryland, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.
The topline results reveal that 30 percent of people who are at risk of hurricane damage have little to no hurricane preparation. By contrast, only 24 percent are very prepared for a hurricane.
How Prepared Are You for the 2021 Hurricane Season?
- Not prepared at all: 10%
- Minimally prepared: 20%
- Somewhat prepared: 46%
- Very prepared: 24%
Nearly One-third Are Unprepared for a Hurricane
According to the survey data, there are no prevailing themes that are driving the behavior of the 30 percent of people who have made minimal or no hurricane preparations.
About 25 percent of this group are moderately to extremely worried about a hurricane, despite lack of preparations. By contrast, some of the residents who have not done any preparations have a high tolerance for risk, and 16 percent say they would rarely or never follow an evacuation order during a hurricane.
Additionally, some of the residents have had first-hand experience with hurricane recovery. About 36 percent of those with little to no preparation have previously sustained hurricane damage, and some had more than $50,000 worth of hurricane damage.
Where Are Residents Most Prepared for Hurricanes?
There are clear geographic trends in hurricane preparedness. However, the states with the strongest preparations may not be the ones you’d expect.
Florida and North Carolina have some of the worst cities for hurricane damage, and you might assume that residents of these states would be the most prepared for hurricane damage. However, the data shows that Florida and North Carolina are in the middle of the pack for hurricane preparedness.
Instead, the residents of Alabama are most prepared for a hurricane. Only 12 percent have made little to no hurricane preparations, and nearly half say they’re very prepared.
How Do People Prepare for a Hurricane?
Our survey respondents shared with us what they typically do to prepare for a hurricane, and the most common tasks are getting supplies including bottled water, non-perishable food, and batteries. Only about a quarter of people are preparing for power outages by installing or testing a generator. Despite the damage that can be caused by flooding and storm surges, less than 20 percent of people are preparing for a hurricane with drainage, waterproofing, or a sump pump.
How to Prepare for a Hurricane
Make sure your preparations include both property protection and personal safety.
In addition to the food, water, and important documents you typically need, you can improve your emergency kit with a cell phone backup battery and hand sanitizer.
To protect your property, take steps to prepare for rain, wind, flooding, and outages. Remember that during a hurricane, water generally causes more damage than wind, and just one inch of water can cause $25,000 in damages, according to FEMA.
You can improve your home’s ability to withstand storms by installing a sump pump, using drainage to keep water away from your foundation, and waterproofing your basement or crawl space. Some sump pumps even have a battery backup so that even when the power goes out, thousands of gallons of water can be removed from your home each hour.
Learn more about how the waterproofing experts at Groundworks can help you protect your home from flooding and hurricanes.