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Results of Stillwater, Okla., Preparedness Survey Shared

Items that should be part of an emergency kit include at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and hygiene, extra water for pets, and three days’ worth of non-perishable food for each person and pet.

by Michelle Charles, Stillwater NewsPress, Okla. / July 30, 2019

(TNS) — Last week, the City of Stillwater asked residents to complete its latest FlashVote survey to determine how prepared they are for emergencies and what steps they have taken to get ready.

The results indicate that residents may have a lengthy list of concerns but most aren’t fully prepared for any of them.

Tornadoes topped the list of emergencies or disasters people worry about with 93.9% of respondents selecting that option.

Floods were a distant second at 36.3% and earthquakes were the third most common concern, with 27.1% of the responses mentioning them.

The list of potential concerns also included wildfires, public health emergencies, extreme heat, extreme cold or blizzards, and terrorist activity.

For people who selected “Other” as an option, 7 out of 14 comments dealt with power outages in some form, whether it was a garden variety outage or it was caused by an event like an ice storm or the shutdown of the electrical grid by terrorists.

Major criminal events like standoffs also got a mention, as did riots, active shooter situations, and the collapse of our national government. Tap water quality and road and bridge conditions were each listed by at least one person.

In spite of their concerns, few of the respondents had taken all the steps recommended to prepare for emergencies.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends households keep enough emergency supplies on hand to last at least the first 72 hours of an emergency situation or disaster.

The list of items that should be part of an emergency kit includes at least one gallon of water per person per day for drinking and hygiene and extra water for any pets as well as three days' worth of non-perishable food for each person and pet.

Cash or travelers checks, copies of important documents, extra clothing, and personal and/or feminine hygiene products should also be part of that emergency supply kit, as should over-the-counter and prescription medications.

For a complete list of emergency kit items go to www.ready.gov/build-a-kit.

A vast majority of respondents, 81.5%, said they have a flashlight with extra batteries and 68% own a first aid kit but fewer than half own a portable radio.

Even fewer, just 37.1%, own a NOAA weather radio and only 29.3% have prepared a personal or family disaster plan.

Less than half of the respondents said they have a three day supply of non-perishable food per person and only 22.7% have three gallons of water per person.

Almost 10 percent of respondents said they had taken none of the listed actions to prepare for an emergency.

Staying informed in an emergency was another area where people were ill-prepared.

Only 25.1% of the respondents said they have signed up for the Be Informed Stillwater emergency alert system and reviewed their their contact information to be sure it’s correct. Almost 20% more said they had signed up but hadn’t reviewed their contact information.

Almost half the respondents said they have not signed up to receive the emergency alerts, with a majority saying they had even not heard of it.

Links to register for emergency alerts from the city of Stillwater and to register the locations of personal storm shelters can be found at stillwater.org by clicking the “online services” link.

When it came to staying informed during an emergency, people indicated they vastly prefer text messages, with 92% selecting that option. Email and social media posts were the next most popular options.

People generally said they appreciate and approve of the work done by the Stillwater Emergency Management Agency but commenters also called for more public trainings or drills and raised concerns about the lack of public or community tornado shelters in Stillwater.

The city of Stillwater sent survey invitations to 921 people who had registered with FlashVote. That effort produced 557 responses, which were cut to 427 after non-residents were filtered out.

There are 18,567 households in Stillwater, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

People who want to particpate in future FlashVote surveys can register at flashvote.com.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

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©2019 the Stillwater NewsPress (Stillwater, Okla.)

Visit the Stillwater NewsPress (Stillwater, Okla.) at www.stillwater-newspress.com

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