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Over 43 percent of families in the Chicago metropolitan area are prepared to evacuate their homes in the event a disaster by having an emergency kit ready to go, according to new statistics released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Census Bureau.

American Housing Survey data for 25 individual metropolitan areas includes information on how many families are prepared for emergency situations such as a fire, a terrorist attack or a large-scale natural disaster.

The new metro-level data includes household responses to a series of questions that will help leaders determine their metro area's preparedness for these emergency situations. The level of preparedness varies by metro area.

The American Housing Survey is the most comprehensive housing survey in the United States. The results also include the latest data on the condition of homes, housing costs, overcrowded housing and much more. Read the full list of data for the Chicago Metropolitan Area here.

"The American Housing Survey added questions on emergency preparedness in response to recent natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy," said Kurt G. Usowski, deputy assistant secretary for economic affairs at HUD. "Emergency responders at all levels of government, along with policy makers and businesses, can use the American Housing Survey for planning and decision-making as we prepare communities for the risks posed by extreme weather and other natural disasters. In the end, we hope this information will strengthen communities' ability to be economically and culturally resilient in the face of natural disasters and a changing climate."

Besides disaster preparedness, other new topics in the survey included levels of community involvement, neighborhood characteristics, and public transportation. The survey also continues to include traditional economic indicators such as the number of underwater mortgages (owing more than the value of the home) in major cities, the physical characteristics of American homes, and monthly property insurance costs.

By the Numbers: Levels of Disaster Preparedness in the Chicago Metropolitan Area

Prepared Emergency Evacuation Kit

Does the household have emergency supplies readily available to take with you if you have to evacuate your home?

Yes 43.3%
No 54.0%

Disaster Plan With Financial Information

Do you have a disaster plan that includes having access to your vital financial information and contact numbers if you had to evacuate your home?

Yes 72.9%
No 24.1%

Generator Present

Does the household have a generator to provide electricity in case there is a power outage?

Yes 18.3%
No 80.2%

Non-Perishable Emergency Food

Does the household have enough non-perishable food to feed everyone in the household for three days?

Yes 79.2%
No 18.3%

Emergency Water Supply

Does the household have at least three gallons of water or 24 bottles of water for each person in the household?

Yes 50.4%
No 47.1%

Communication Plan

Do the members of your household have a plan for communicating in the event that cell phone service is disrupted?

Yes 30.5%
No 67.6%

Emergency Meeting Location

In some disasters, household members will need to evacuate separately. Does your household have an agreed-upon meeting point if that should happen?

Yes 34.6%
No 63.4%

Need Help Evacuating Pets

If you or your household had to evacuate from your town or city to a safe place at least 50 miles away, would you need assistance evacuating or sheltering your pets?

Yes 23.6%
No 72.1%

Evacuation Funds

If you or your household had to evacuate from your town or city to a safe place at least 50 miles away, do you have the financial resources, in terms of savings or available credit card balances, to meet expenses of up to $2,000?

Yes 71.1%
No 24.6%

Evacuation Vehicle(s)

If you or your household had to evacuate from your town or city to a safe place at least 50 miles away, do you have enough reliable vehicles to carry all of your household members, including pets, and a small amount of supplies such as clothes and food?

Yes 85.6%
No 12%

Likely Place to Stay During a 2-Week Evacuation

If you or your household had to evacuate from your town or city to a safe place at least 50 miles away for at least two weeks, where would you most likely stay during those two weeks?

With relatives or friends 67.1%
Public shelter 3.5%
Hotel or motel 21.8%

Source: American Housing Survey, Table S-06-AO-M. Percentages based on respondents in each metro area. Figures do not add up to 100% because those who did not know or who did not respond are not listed above.


Comments welcome.


Posted on April 2, 2015

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