The preliminary data from the recent Grays Harbor County Citizen Expectation Survey has been released, showing that many families are unprepared for an emergency. These results allow Grays Harbor County Emergency Management the ability to build stronger and more viable local emergency and disaster plans.
In January, more detailed results specific to each city and tribal land will be released. Emergency Management will also be able to determine results for the three regions of our county: the coast, mid county and East Grays Harbor County.
Grays Harbor County Emergency Management received numerous questions and comments about site specific disaster and emergency situations in our cities and unincorporated areas of Grays Harbor County, many which have been contrary to all written emergency and disaster plans in existence. These questions lead to the survey.
This past summer, Grays Harbor County Emergency Management conducted the survey to assess two main areas. One was the educational needs throughout the county for emergency and disaster preparation. Second, and most important, were the intentions and expectations of Grays Harbor County citizens during an emergency.
The Grays Harbor County Citizen Expectation Survey was launched in July 2013 and was completed just after Labor Day. The responses far exceeded the expectations of the office with over 1100 responses from all areas of the county.
The results show that only half of all residents have a family emergency plan. Of those who do have plans, many do not include information on specific meeting areas, ways to communicate or how and where to evacuate. This is an indication they are not sure what to include in a plan and lead them to believe they are more prepared than they actually are. Another large issue was that nearly 25% of families are not sure whether their child’s school has a disaster plan. If an event occurs when the family is separated, this will add to the confusion and stress of the situation.
Deputy Director of Emergency Management Chuck Wallace told KXRO that “There is much to learn, comprehend and work towards clear and concise information readily available to all citizens.”