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Despite Sandy, Many in Coastal NJ Not Prepared For Hurricanes [AUDIO]

Less than a year after Superstorm Sandy, an American Red Cross survey shows that a little more than half of those in coastal communities that were hardest hit, plan to take steps to prepare for this year’s hurricane season.

New York And New Jersey Continue To Recover From Superstorm Sandy
Flood-damaged belongings in Union Beach (Michael Loccisano, Getty Images)

The survey was conducted earlier this month by the American Red Cross and the Weather Channel. It surveyed 1,412 residents in coastal counties from Texas to Maine.

The survey found that 56 percent of the respondents from the New Jersey and New York region hardest hit by Sandy last October, were more likely to take action. However, the farther you get from Sandy’s impact, like those in Southern Atlantic, only 22 percent said Superstorm Sandy encouraged them to take steps.

The study concludes that while Superstorm Sandy raised awareness of the need to prepare, overall the survey reveals little evidence that people in any of the coastal areas have actually taken the necessary steps, even as forecasters are predicting a busy 2013 hurricane season.

American Red Cross North Jersey Regional CEO Mathiew Nelessen says those numbers are lower than he expected.

“So all of those simple steps of just getting a kit, being informed and planning, it just seems to me that we have to increase, especially in our region. I mean we’re becoming hurricane prone, we should have more folks taking this step to get more prepared”

He said they’ll be working with their media and corporate partners to more aggressively get the word out. “So when the power was out and most folks turned to radio, we looked to some of our really great partners in New Jersey, our corporate partners, really to help educate the largest populations.”

Nelessen said it’s also important to let people know about all the Apps that are available to help warn residents of imminent danger. “I was in a restaurant up in North Jersey and seemingly about half the restaurant had a flash flood warning, so everyone’s cell phones went off, buzzing and that’s I think the level of intensity that we need to get to.”

The Red Cross also provides a free web-based program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools to become better prepared called Red Cross Ready Rating.

Nelessen says while the emergency preparedness kit has stayed basically the same, he urges everyone to update family evacuation plans annually. For more information on preparing for a hurricane, click here.


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