A statewide survey found many Floridians are overly confident about their hurricane plan, mistaking pandemic vigilance for hurricane readiness.
Researchers at the University of South Florida surveyed hundreds of people across the sunshine state earlier this month. The goal was to gauge how prepared people are for a major storm.
"Most Floridians are concerned about this hurricane season," said Dr. Christa Remington Assistant Professor of Public Administration at USF. "81% are and most said that they would be affected if a Category 3 or higher storm were to threaten their community."
Remington is part of the group that worked on the survey. She says they found most Floridians believe they are taking the threat of a disaster seriously.
"More than 75% consider themselves at least somewhat ready for hurricane season. But a closer look at what their definition of what ‘ready’ is reveals that they aren't as ready as they think," Remington said.
While folks have food, water and medication, the preparedness really stops there. The survey found 58% do not have an evacuation plan, 56.8% lack a NOAA weather radio, and 51% do not have a stocked emergency kit.
"So what this says to us is that there's a troubling overconfidence that most Floridians may be feeling. What they're thinking is hurricane preparedness is actually pandemic preparedness," said Remington.
That overconfidence could also be why folks choose not to evacuate when a Category 3 storm or higher is approaching. The survey found several reasons why people would decide not to leave or go to a shelter including concerns about the safety of their property, their pets, and even COVID-19.
"I just want people to take an honest assessment of their hurricane preparedness, knowing what it takes to safely navigate the hurricane season, especially for new Floridians," Remington said.