Still Unprepared For Natural Disasters

It appears that recent natural disasters such as the California wild fires and Hurricane Katrina have taught Americans very little about emergency preparedness. According to a 2006 American Red Cross study, 19% of African Americans say they are not at all prepared for a natural disaster, compared with 10% of whites.

In another study, Harris Interactive, an independent marketing research firm, found that most Americans do not have an emergency kit, a devised evacuation route, or plans for their pets, should a catastrophe strike .

Darlene Sparks Washington,_the Red Cross’ director of preparedness, explains that African Americans should pay particular attention to developing an emergency plan: “Because of geographic concentration, African Americans are more likely to expect a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane in their community in the next two years, 44% compared to 34% of whites.”

It is recommended that all families take action by selecting an emergency contact, preparing a medical kit, establishing a meeting place, and purchasing emergency supplies in advance, among other things.