There are a number of hurricanes in the Atlantic but looks like Florida is going to get to dodge the ones that are out there now. Which is good news for Floridians and means that Rick Scott might not get an opportunity to put on his Navy hat just yet.
But that doesn’t mean Floridians can be any less prepared. According to a survey released earlier this week by the National Hurricane Survival Initiative and FAIR Foundation, 1 in 5 Floridians still say they wouldn’t evacuate even when a Category 4 storm is forecast to come within 10 miles of their home — and more than half of Floridians who live in evacuation zones have disregarded recommendations to leave ahead of a powerful storm. Maybe they’re brave, maybe they’re smart … or maybe they just like dumb choices.
On Monday – the one year anniversary since Hurricane Irma tore its way up the entire state, leaving devastation and destruction in its wake – former FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said the findings should serve as a wake-up call for the state.
The survey also found that there’s still too much people don’t know about generator safety. While it may seem like common sense to not run a generator in or near your home because of possible carbon monoxide poison, almost one third (31%) of Floridians answered otherwise. Alarmingly, the number of people who believe a garage (16%), a balcony (13%), or any room with an open window (8%) are safe places to run generators all increased from the same survey question after Irma last year.
A few additional key survey findings include:
- For the most part, Floridians are more prepared to meet the needs of their pets in a storm than they are the humans in their home.
- More than one-third of Floridians who live less than 2 miles from the coast don’t have flood insurance.
- Only 15% of Florida homeowners are aware that hurricane deductibles average around $5,000 — and more than 57% said paying that much following a storm would be difficult if not impossible.
- More than half don’t know what their homeowners or renters insurance covers in a hurricane, with many incorrectly believing insurance covers things like replacing spoiled food, removing debris from the yard, and buying a generator.
Those of us in South Florida should be alarmed at how little our neighbors seem to know about hurricane safety. The horrors of Hurricane Andrew are still fresh enough, and Irma should have been all the reminder we need to take this more seriously.
I guess some people just like taking chances.