Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Nearly three-quarters of New York City residents said they prepared their households for Tropical Storm Irene, according to a new Siena poll out today. That means they stocked up on extra food and water, and kept flashlights and extra batteries on hand. More than half of city residents also prepared a "go bag" with clothes, medicines and important papers. Less than half said they had an emergency plan in place.
Those numbers were slightly lower for residents statewide. Seventy percent of state residents said they were at least somewhat prepared for the storm. Eight percent of residents said they were not at all prepared, compared to seven percent in New York City.
"Clearly, while many New Yorkers are prepared and some have taken some steps, most know they weren't fully prepared before and haven't dotted all the emergency preparedness 'I's' since the storm," said Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute.
Joseph Bruno, Commissioner of New York City's Office of Emergency Management, acknowledged that there is more work to do to reach people and make sure they are prepared for an emergency. But he said he's encouraged by the findings.
"I know that we're up from numbers that were much lower, so I think we're certainly on the proper trajectory where people are becoming more prepared," Bruno said. "I mean, I think it's a pretty good statement that 74 percent of New Yorkers felt that they were either somewhat or more prepared."
Bruno said the Office of Emergency Management will start to collect its own data on residents who were evacuated during the storm, such as finding out where people stayed and how residents heard about evacuation centers. He said those findings should be released by the end of the month.