The survey found that 63% of parents would ignore orders to evacuate and instead attempt to reunite with their children, possibly hindering rescue efforts by adding to traffic congestion.
The authors of the study, released Thursday on the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, said that despite years of government efforts to enhance disaster preparedness, schools need to do more to plan for disasters and parents need to be made aware of the plans.
The report was commissioned by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Children's Health Fund.
Among parents of school-age children, 45% said they do not know the location where their children would be evacuated as part of the school's disaster plan.
"There should be an outcry from parents to push their schools and their school districts to develop a plan that makes sense," said Irwin Redlener, associate dean for public health preparedness at Columbia and president of the Children's Health Fund.
The federal Department of Homeland Security has allocated billions of dollars to help state and local governments set up disaster contingency plans.
But just 44% of the U.S. residents surveyed this year said they have all or some of the basic elements of a disaster preparedness plan, including food, water, a flashlight with extra batteries and a meeting place in case of evacuation.
The survey has been administered annually since 2002 by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
The telephone survey of 1,579 adults was conducted between July 25 and Aug. 9. The margin of error for the entire survey was 2.5 percentage points. The margin of error for the subset of households with children was 4 percentage points.
Parents said Thursday they were not surprised by the finding that most of them would disregard evacuation orders and pick up their children.
Diana Ennen, of Margate, Florida, is the author of "The Home Office Recovery Plan: Disaster Preparedness for Your Home-Based Business" and a mother of three.
"As a mom, you wouldn't be able to keep me away from picking up my children," she said in an e-mail. "My first instinct would be to get them at all costs. I would literally run the entire distance to get them. I believe most parents would feel the same."
Karen Matthews, AP Writer, Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Charges were filed this week in the shooting that happened last weekend. The teenager is charged with the use of a vehicle while discharging a weapon and committing a felony with a firearm with a defaced ID number. The shooting happened last Saturday on Northwest 22nd Street. The victim was walking down the street when shot in the arm. Police say that the group inside the car where the shots came from were following the victim.
Authorities in Pottawatomie County have released the dash cam footage from Officer Justin Terney's patrol car. On March 26, Officer Justin Terney was shot during a traffic stop for a broken taillight. Terney underwent emergency surgery area hospital and passed away Monday morning.
The Oklahoma Bar Association will investigate an ethics complaint against former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. The Center for Biological Diversity and University of Oklahoma law professor Kristen Van de Biezenbos are seeking an investigation into Pruitt's testimony during a U.S. Senate Committee confirmation hearing for his appointment as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency.