Even after Hurricane Sandy, many people wouldn’t prepare before a future storm

Popular Science | 4/19/2019 | Staff
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Hurricane Sandy tore through the east coast in 2012, killing 48 people, leaving millions without power, and causing billions in damages. On the coast of New Jersey, storm surges reach record heights, and hundreds of thousands of homes were destroyed.

New Jersey hadn’t had any major hurricanes in decades, notes Joanna Burger, a professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute at Rutgers University—which probably made people less likely to prepare for the storm, or to take warnings as seriously. “Areas where they have hurricanes all the time, and people are more used to it, they know how to prepare, how to evacuate and where to go. In New Jersey, they had not had any major hurricanes like that in decades,” she says.

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But despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, many people in New Jersey do not plan to take active preparations if another storm approaches in the future. Burger and her colleagues surveyed New Jersey residents about their responses to the approaching storm back in 2012, and how they planned to prepare for another hypothetical storm—and their results, published this week in the journal Disasters, found that only around half of people said they planned to prepare in advance of the next storm, and 35 percent said that they would not make any preparations.

Those findings offer important information for policy makers and officials around their natural disaster messaging, Burger says.

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In this study, Rutgers University researchers surveyed just under 600 people who came to health centers across the state for unrelated health appointments. Of the study sites, six were in the five counties most damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The majority of the participants rated their personal impact from the storm at a three on a scale from one to five.

Just over half of the study participants said that they would...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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