Nearly one year after Hurricane Irene struck the Northeast, many Northeasterners may not be as prepared as they should be. Over the past few years, the U. S. has experienced a record number of natural disasters that have destroyed neighborhoods and cost lives. In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency made 99 major disaster [i]declarations1 in 2011, the most mega catastrophes declared since 1953.

However, this elevated level of disasters and property damage have not been a call to action for many.

Northeasterners’ lack of evacuation plans and procedures are a cause for concern. More than half (52 percent) of survey respondents say they have not thought about or even discussed an evacuation plan or meeting place away from the home for their family. These plans are crucial and should be discussed with relatives and neighbors in advance of a catastrophe.

The majority of Northeasterners (64 percent) also say they have not prepared an emergency kit. Families should consider putting together a well-stocked first-aid kit as well as a disaster-supply kit and keeping them in easy-to-access places. The disaster-supply kit should contain a supply of water and ready-to-eat, non-perishable foods, a weather radio, traveler’s checks or cash, important papers, personal hygiene items, blankets, extra clothes and shoes.

Sixty-one percent of homeowners and renters in the Northeast say they have not made a home inventory list of their personal belongings. Having a room-by-room inventory, as well as photographs of personal belongings can save a lot of headaches – or heartaches – should a catastrophe strike. The list can also help make the process of filing an insurance claim easier.

“There is a clear opportunity for people in New Jersey to understand the importance of focusing on safety and preparedness,” said Daniel Jovic, Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company spokesperson. “Preparation is a family’s best defense against a natural disaster.”

Today’s survey release is part of a comprehensive effort by Allstate to encourage residents to become better prepared for natural disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and, when the season hits,  winter blizzards. Allstate has valuable tools and resources available that are easily accessible, including disaster preparation guides, home inventory check lists, and property protection and insurance coverage information. This information and more can be found on the “Be Aware and Prepare” section of Allstate’s website at