Survey seeks hurricane evacuation habits

By Evan Lambert - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Geographers at the University of South Carolina along with state emergency management officials and the United States Army Corps of Engineers are using answers from a new survey to better prepare for a hurricane.

The survey is headed to residents in storm surge zones in all of the state's coastal counties, including about 4,000 in Horry County.

Researchers want to find out what plans people have in place for hurricane evacuations, what goes into their decision to leave and how they would evacuate.

They hope that information will help emergency officials across the state better plan to assist people away from the coast in case of an evacuation.

"The number of cars they take, when they get in the automobile to get on the road and where they go influences evacuation procedures," said Dr. Susan Cutter, director of USC's Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute.

Geographers at USC say they last conducted a hurricane evacuation study in 2000. Since then, they say populations have grown and lots could change when it comes to people's habits.

Horry County officials say the survey also helps them find out where they need to ramp up education efforts.

"We'll have a better idea of who we need to target and what information they're really looking for when it comes to any type of disaster and mainly hurricanes in this situation," said Alicia Sanders, with the Horry County Emergency Management Office.

Residents who get the survey don't need to worry about postage. Return envelopes come pre-addressed and pre-stamped.

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