NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — The City of Norfolk wants to know why many people chose not to leave ahead of Florence. City officials posted a new online survey with three simple questions that may help leaders better understand how people responded to Governor Ralph Northam’s mandatory evacuation order of Zone A.
Earlier this week, state emergency officials defended last week’s mandatory evacuation order for thousands of people. Still, reaction to the order is mixed, considering Zone A didn’t see much of an impact from the storm.
Lori Crouch, a spokesperson for the City of Norfolk said the city is evaluating its response to Hurricane Florence, but in the meantime, hearing people’s feedback is important.
“Part of our response is also looking at how our residents responded,” said Crouch. “Anytime we can hear from our residents, we only get better.”
During the evacuation order, some people loaded up on gas, packed up and left. Others, like Tessa Robinson, decided to stay at home. Robinson and her husband wanted to see how the storm would play out before making a decision.
"We just watched it very closely. We made the decision that had Zone B been evacuated, we would've gone. But with two little kids, my husband's in the Navy, ultimately we decided it was a little bit of a logistics nightmare to get out," Robinson explained.
Whether or not people decide to evacuate, is completely up to them. When it comes to deciding to stay, reasons differ among everybody.
“We don't have family in the area, so it wasn't just pop over to Grandma and Grandpa’s right away. For us, it would be a flight to the Midwest," Robinson continued.
That’s exactly what the City of Norfolk wants to learn more about. Its three-question survey asking why people stayed. The survey asks people if they know their zone, if they evacuated and if they didn’t, and why?
People who take the survey are given several reasons to select, as well as an ‘other’ option, where they can specify. No one will have their answers held against them since the survey is only for the city to make well-informed decisions when it comes to hurricane response.
“If you just felt like ‘Hey, I can go to Zone B, that's good for us to know. Or, ‘I just didn't wanna leave my home’, that's good for us to know,” said Crouch.
As of Thursday evening, more than 160 people had taken the survey. Some of the reasons people stayed were: medical reasons and pets. About 90% of people selected the 'other' response.
For Robinson, deciding whether to stay or go wasn't easy.
“For us here in the lower part of Norfolk, we did take it very seriously and we wavered quite a bit, but ultimately, [we] decided to stay,” said Robinson.
“If there's a mandatory evacuation next time, if Zone A and Zone B are both evacuated, you better believe we will be in the car and on our way somewhere.”
If you live in Zone A, you can click here to take the survey.