MIAMI – June 15, 2018 – In the hot and dirty days after a hurricane sweeps through Florida, which conveniences would be most important to you?
According to a new hurricane preparedness survey commissioned by the FAIR Foundation, internet access would be one of the most-missed amenities.
Asked to choose which of two conveniences they would prefer in the four days after a hurricane, 83 percent of respondents chose web access to cable TV access, which was preferred by 17 percent. Sorry, CNN and Fox News. Apparently, most respondents would rather surf the web while using rabbit ears to watch local TV.
The strength of preference for internet access was tops among millennials (92 percent), but also strong among people ages 35 to 54 (88 percent) and 55 and older (74 percent).
"I think it's an access to information issue," said Karen Cyphers, research director for Sachs Media Group, which conducted the survey for the FAIR Foundation and the Get Ready, Florida! hurricane preparedness campaign. "People feel they'll get the best access to information online than from cable TV."
Survey results were compiled from 1,000 responses to questions mailed to a random sample of registered Florida voters between June 1-4 with a margin of error of +/- 3 percent at the 95 percent confidence level, according to the surveyors. Results are representative of Florida voters in terms of age, race, gender and political party.
Meanwhile, about one in four respondents said they would choose a fully charged cellphone over saving their perishable food in a working refrigerator or the comfort and safety of air conditioning. "I don't think we would have seen that 20 years ago," Cyphers said.
Air conditioning was more important than cellphones to males than females. Eighty percent of males chose AC compared with 76 percent of females.
Meanwhile, the survey found 76 percent of Floridians are "very" or "somewhat" concerned about potential hurricanes this season compared with 5 percent who were "not at all" concerned.
Broken down by ethnicity, 42 percent of black respondents and 44 percent of Hispanic respondents said they were "very concerned" compared with 22 percent of white respondents.
Among homeowners, 70 percent have either reviewed or updated their homeowner's insurance policy since last hurricane season. That's not good enough, said Guy McClurkan, executive director of the FAIR Foundation, a spinoff organization of the Fort Lauderdale-based insurance watchdog group, Florida Association for Insurance Reform.
"The 2018 hurricane season is already off to a fast start," McClurkan was quoted as saying in a news release announcing the survey results, "so it's crucial that everyone review their family's safety and evacuation plans, check their insurance coverage and consider purchasing separate flood insurance, since floods aren't covered by a typical homeowners policy."
© 2018 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Ron Hurtibise. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.