If it feels like every time you turn on a weather report, there’s a tornado, hurricane, wildfire or severe storm happening. If you think the alarm from your weather radio sounds off a lot more frequently than before, you are not alone. A majority of Americans feel the same way.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration made 95 major disaster and fire declarations last year. In 2012, FEMA declared 112 major disasters and fires, including Sandy, Hurricane Isaac and the High Park and Waldo Canyon wildfires. This is nearly double the number of disaster declarations made only two decades ago.
Despite the frequency of severe weather, a new survey released by Allstate shows people may not be as prepared as they should be for the next big storm. Ninety-two percent of Americans surveyed have lived through a disaster. Seven percent of the people polled say they or someone in their family was injured when a disaster impacted their community. The survey findings also revealed …
- More than 90 percent of Americans have not practiced an evacuation plan or a way to escape if a major storm is approaching.
- Sixty-four percent of Americans have not created an inventory list of the belongings in their home.
- Nearly a third of Americans (30 percent) would take their chances and ignore evacuation orders in the face of an imminent natural disaster.
“No one should risk putting themselves or their family in danger,” said Mark McGillivray, Allstate’s senior vice president of Claims. “While we see some progress since surveying consumers a couple of years ago, the latest survey results demonstrate there is still work to do to remind people that Mother Nature can strike at any time, any place. It is important for individuals and families to be ready, just in case the unthinkable happens.”
Preparation is a family’s best defense. There are a few simple steps to take to get ready and be ready before the serious weather starts.
Evacuating your family to a safe place
Respect local authorities and law enforcement decisions on when to evacuate and when it is safe to return home.
- Discuss an evacuation plan, including a meeting location away from the home.
- Learn the best evacuation routes and keep a map or GPS unit in the car in case you are forced to take unfamiliar roads.
- Fill up the fuel tank of your vehicle(s) at the first sign of a potential storm.
- Stay informed of the latest weather in your area by signing up for a service like Allstate Alerts.
- Let an out-of-state contact or neighbor know your plan and make sure family members know who to call in case you get separated.
Preparing an emergency kit to grab and go
Take some time before disaster season to shop and put together an emergency kit.
- The kit can include a first-aid kit, personal hygiene items, water supply, non-perishable foods, weather radio and flashlight.
- If you are on medications, include them or a prescription for those medications in the kit along with cash, important papers and insurance policy numbers.
Making a home inventory of your stuff
If you don’t have an up-to-date home inventory, walk through your home with a video or still camera and thoroughly take pictures or videotape of your belongings.
- Having a room-by-room inventory of personal belongings can save a lot of headaches – or heartaches – should a catastrophe strike.
- Use an application like Digital Locker to help create an online inventory.
“The start of hurricane season is a time when forecasters predict the number and severity of hurricanes expected to impact coastal communities around the country,” said McGillivray. “For those who live in hurricane-prone or disaster-prone areas, take time to ensure you are prepared. Simple steps can go a long way to keep loved ones safe and possibly reduce the damage from disasters.”
Allstate has additional disaster preparation tools and resources available on the Be Aware and Prepare website. Information on FEMA’s flood insurance program can be found at floodsmart.gov.
About the Survey
The survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,000 American adults with homeowners or renter’s insurance. Interviews were conducted April 8-16, 2014 via phone and have a margin of error + 3.1% at the 95% confidence interval. The survey was conducted by FTI Consulting for Allstate.
The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, protecting approximately 16 million households from life’s uncertainties through its Allstate, Encompass, Esurance and Answer Financial brand names and Allstate Financial business segment. Allstate is widely known through the slogan “You’re In Good Hands With Allstate®.” The Allstate brand’s network of small businesses offers auto, home, life and retirement products and services to customers in the United States and Canada. In 2013, The Allstate Foundation, Allstate, its employees and agency owners gave $29 million to support local communities. Allstate employees and agency owners donated 200,000 hours of service across the country.