Survey reveals COVID-19 effect on hurricane readiness
In an overnight survey commissioned by the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH), 66 percent of respondents stated they were either extremely likely, moderately likely or slightly more likely to “prepare for the 2020 Hurricane Season due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic” compared to 16 percent who reported the opposite. Another 18 percent reported no effect.
FLASH commissioned the survey of 500 residents in ten hurricane-prone states to gauge consumer attitudes as they balance U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidelines with the need to prepare before the June 1 beginning of hurricane season. The nonprofit partnership expanded its annual consumer outreach initiative, #HurricaneStrong, in response to the findings. The effort retitled, “#AtHome and #HurricaneStrong,” is available in Spanish as well.
Additional findings included a seven-percent increase in overall intentions to prepare in 2020 versus 2019 with offsetting changes in overall “time to prepare” as some are home with extra time while others are homeschooling children while working.
“This year presents unprecedented challenges, especially for those in hurricane-prone states as they get ready for hurricane season and continue to cope with COVID-19,” said FLASH President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Chapman-Henderson. “The good news is that nearly everything they need to do to prepare can be accomplished through online planning, DIY projects, online shopping or curbside pickup.”
The #HurricaneStrong program is presented by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FLASH, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and media partners from The Weather Channel. ISO/Verisk, Lowe’s, Simpson Strong-Tie, State Farm and the United Services Automobile Association are the national sponsors. Partners and sponsors serve as featured experts and help promote the initiative through information sharing on social media channels.
The 2020 #AtHome and #HurricaneStrong initiative begins April 27 and will continue for five weeks leading up to June 1. The effort provides free bilingual DIY checklists and information sheets on topics, including building codes, evacuation zones, insurance, power outage, protecting pets and sandbags as well as strengthening homes against flooding, high winds and lightning. The www.hurricanestrong.org website will also include new podcasts, activities for kids and a downloadable program guide.
Each week, FLASH will host a giveaway featuring $50 Lowe’s gift cards to generate information sharing on social media and raise awareness about hurricane preparation tips. Giveaway participation is free, and details are available on Twitter by following @federalalliance and #HurricaneStrong. The weekly topics fall under five areas, including personal safety, family preparedness, financial security, damage prevention and community service.
Consumer survey background
The April 21, 2020, survey included 500 U.S. respondents in Alabama (3 percent), Florida (23 percent), Georgia (10 percent), Louisiana (2 percent), Massachusetts (7 percent), Mississippi (2 percent), New York (19 percent), North Carolina (10 percent), Texas (20 percent) and South Carolina (4 percent) with a plus or minus four percent margin of error. The survey demographics reflect 54.6 percent female and 45.4 percent male respondents spread across the following ages: 18-24 (11.4 percent); 25-34 (20.0 percent); 35-44 (21.8 percent), 45-54 (15.2 percent) and greater than 54 (31.6 percent).
- A seven-percent increase in those who intend to prepare in 2020 versus 2019 (59 percent versus 52 percent).
- 66 percent report that they are more likely to prepare in 2020 due to COVID-19.
- 57 percent agree they are motivated by social distancing considerations.
- “Keeping my family safe” and “understanding what to do” remain as top drivers of preparation.
- Responses to the open-ended question reflect themes regarding affordability, supply availability and time to prepare. Some were unaware that they reside in a hurricane-prone state.