Majority of Cary Citizens Lack Necessary Preparedness for Emergencies
CARY, NC – More than half of all the families in Cary would not be prepared if disaster were to strike today, according to the results of the Town of Cary’s 2006 Biennial Citizen Survey. More than 50 percent of Caryhouseholds lack a complete 3-Day Emergency Kit, and nearly 55 percent don’t have a plan for how to reunite should tragedy strike during work or school hours. The survey also shows that 4-5,000 people would likely have to rely on public transportation if told to evacuate, and officials could expect 5-6,000 in emergency shelters should widespread disaster destroy homes.
“After the devastation of Katrina and Rita, we knew we needed to get a better idea of what our community’s specific situation might be,” said Cary Fire Chief Allan Cain, “and our biennial survey provided the perfect opportunity from a timing standpoint.”
Town officials began crafting emergency preparedness questions as news coverage of the devastating hurricanes brought to light numerous weaknesses in governmental planning efforts. Other Cary emergency preparedness questions on the survey asked about medically-dependent family members as well as what respondents planned to do with their pets if disaster strikes.
“We know of no other community in our state that’s taken scientific stock of its citizens’ situations since the hurricanes,” said Cain. “This information will be of tremendous benefit as we work with Wake County Emergency Management and others to put Cary in the best possible preparedness position.”
Comprehensive emergency preparedness information is available on the Town’s Web site, www.townofcary.org.
Conducted by telephone every two years since 1998, Cary ’s survey is roughly divided into three parts: demographic questions, standard questions that are asked from survey to survey, and “hot topic” questions.
In addition to emergency preparedness, the hot topic questions on this year’s survey examined citizens’ views on the possibility of the Town government becoming involved with wireless Internet service as well as opinions on potential community aquatics programming.
The second group of questions—those that allow for tracking trends—cover citizen satisfaction with and opinions of public safety, parks and recreation, quality of life, taxes, solid waste, communications, public involvement, and government operations/management. For the first time, more service dimension ratings went down than up. Specifically, three “grades” improved, 16 grades stayed the same, and 13 grades dropped, leaving the Town with an overall grade from citizens this year of a “B”, which is down slightly from 2004’s “B+”.
“Our biennial survey has long been an important tool in our operations planning and evaluation, and we take the results very seriously,” said Town Manager Bill Coleman. “While our marks remain relatively strong, staff is already hard at work analyzing the findings and generating recommendations for improvement, especially with regards to customer service.”
In addition to staff review, the Town Council will receive a formal presentation on and discuss all of the findings of the study at the March 17, 2006 Council-Staff retreat in Southern Pines, NC.
A total of 405 Cary households were randomly selected for the survey and interviewed by telephone from January 6-23, 2006 . Just like Gallop, Nielsen, and other national and international pollsters, consultations for the Town use long-standing, scientifically developed sampling techniques and statistical analysis that allow the survey results to be generalized with confidence over the entire population even though not everyone in Cary is being called. The margin of error for the 2006 survey was +/- 5 percent.
Cary contracted with BKL Research of Salem, VA to conduct the survey and two focus groups at a cost of $25,000. The survey report is available on the Town’s Web site, www.townofcary.org.
Susan Moran, Public Information Officer, (919) 460-4951
Bill Coleman, Town Manager, (919) 469-4002
April Little, Public Information Specialist (919) 481-5091