Bushfires are a constant threat during some part of the year in many parts of rural Australia. When fires occur, those who confront them often have no previous experience of bushfires or are ill prepared to undertake actions which would mitigate risk to life and property. Large differences in community preparedness and community responses are observed and yet we appear to have no systematic account of how or why these differences exist.
We propose that certain community characteristics are important to property owners' perceptions of risk and their ability to control or influence a desired outcome.
What are the characteristics of communities that predict preparedness for and resilience to bushfires?
- Structure (eg. physical location, rural/tree-change/peri-urban)
- Demography (eg. age, SES, number of children)
- Community networks
- Social capital and community competence
- Previous experience with disasters
- Trust in relevant agencies
In what way does the community context moderate the relationship between warning messages and resultant behaviours?
What is the profile of a well prepared and resilient community?
Is there scope for community level interventions that aim to improve overall preparedness of community members?