A Poll Shows Families Aren't Prepared for a Hurricane

A new survey shows even after last year’s unprecedented hurricane season, many of us still don't know how to properly respond if threatened by a killer storm.

The Mason-Dixon poll found almost half of those asked say they don't have a family hurricane plan, and many more couldn't answer basic questions about hurricane safety.

Eight out of 10 people surveyed didn’t know storm surge is the most deadly effect of a hurricane. Just over half of those asked mistakenly believe masking tape will keep windows from shattering.

Florida State University professor Jay Baker is an expert in public response to hurricanes. He says the most disturbing part of the survey is that many people don't know when or if they should evacuate.

"Unfortunately, a lot of people still have misconceptions about whether they live in an area that would need to evacuate, whether or not their homes would be unsafe in a hurricane or not, or whether or not they’re going to be told by public officials to evacuate."

The key is to find out from your county official whether your particular home is at risk. Gov. Jeb Bush says the smartest thing may be not to evacuate.

"It could be that the best strategy to deal with a hurricane is to shelter in place. Many people, with building codes as they are, it's safer to stay in your home than get out on the streets."

This year Floridians will have a sales tax holiday on hurricane supplies like tarps and flashlights. You won’t have to pay sales tax on any of these items, even lower-cost generators, for the first 12 days in June.

Not preparing and not knowing how to respond can have deadly consequences.

The four hurricanes last year and their aftermaths killed 123 Floridians. Hurricane forecasters are predicting 13 named tropical storms this year. Seven are predicted to turn into hurricanes.