SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — When it comes to preparing for a storm, making a decision about whether to evacuate could be life saving. WSAV spoke with experts to see many Georgian’s are actually prepared for an emergency and why residents have changed their minds about leaving their homes.
“It’s very important to have a plan,” Montrae Waiters, AAA spokesperson said.
Hurricane season is here and when it comes to staying safe, “preparation is the key to making sure you are not stuck on the path of a deadly storm,” according to Waiters.
A survey by AAA found that nearly half of Georgians aren’t ready to weather a storm.
“Here in Georgia, 48% don’t make advanced preparations for hurricane season,” Waiters said.
And when it comes to having an evacuation plan, many don’t know where to go.
“Thirty-nine percent don’t even have an evacuation plan.”
Experts say some people hesitate to make plans to leave their homes.
“Sometimes folks don’t want to leave their pets, again folks not knowing what the evacuation route is or not wanting to leave their dwelling,” Waiters said. “There are plenty of routes and shelters to go to, that you can take your pets to, so it’s all about educating yourself prior to the storm hitting.”
And this year for Georgians, the decision to evacuate could come down to gas prices.
“Thirty-six percent of Georgians stated that they may stay at home because of high gas prices, take that chance, not evacuate, we don’t recommend that at all,” Waiters said. “Since we know gas prices are going to be pretty elevated this summer, we suggest that you start saving now.”
Despite these concerns, experts are reminding residents the decision to evacuate could save lives.
“Life is important and it’s very important that you have these things in place,” Waiters said.
Still, AAA said more Georgians have become aware of the risks.
“Twenty-five percent of Georgians are more concerned this year about hurricane season than they were last year.”
WSAV spoke with some people who live in high-risk zones in Chatham County to see what it would take for them to evacuate.
“Maybe three and above,” Clay Culver said.
Residents say they haven’t always evacuated in the past despite warnings but that different factors could influence their decision to go.
“I evacuated in a handful of storms, didn’t in a handful and got to see it first-hand,” Culver said. “My house actually flooded in Irma, so I took about two-feet of water through the house.”
“I have a 4-year-old daughter, and ultimately if it is me by myself, it’s kind of like stand your castle, but when you have other people in mind it’s better to be safe rather than sorry because again you never really know what could happen,” said Eric Cieceraro.
Ultimately, many agree. Safety should be top of mind.
“I know it’s safer than trying to stick around for what, you know you can clean up the mess when you get back, there’s no reason to try and stick around,” Ciceraro said.