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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A study released Thursday by Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions examined levels of evacuation preparedness among the state’s 67 counties and found 10 of the counties least prepared were in North Florida and the Panhandle.

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The study, led by John L. Renne, Ph.D., associate professor of urban and regional planning and director of FAU’s CUES within the College for Design and Social Inquiry, found those counties had weak plans or provided very limited access to evacuation information compared to the rest of the state. Only seven of the counties in the region had strong plans, according to the study.

Those counties include Holmes, Gulf, Liberty, Jefferson, Madison, Lafayette, Suwannee, Baker, Union and Bradford.

Levels of evacuation preparedness (FAU)

“The study is not intended to point any fingers at anybody,” speaking to CBS4 via Skype, Renne said.

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“It is a guide for planning and for emergency managers to improve their planning and evacuation plan for the future.”

The study gathered information from each county’s emergency services management websites, the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plans and/or Local Mitigation Strategies, and other links provided by the local governments.

The study looked at these six factors in reaching its conclusion:
— Special Needs Registries
— Specialized Transportation for Individuals with Specific Needs –
— Pick-up Location Plan
— Multi-hazard Evacuation Plan
— Plan for Pet Evacuation
— Provision of Evacuation Maps

The study found 41 of the 67 counties had strong plans, 16 had moderate access to evacuation plans, and 10 had weak plans or provided very limited access to evacuation information.

“I think we need to compare all the counties because at the end of the day, if a disaster strikes, we want people in Bay County to evacuate just like people in Broward County,” Renne said.

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Hurricane preparedness chart (FSU)