Evidence presented to the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission suggested that, in addition to shortcomings in agencies’ provisions of specific warnings to at-risk communities about threats from bushfires, a significant number of fatalities may not have occurred if people had made (and acted upon) decisions more appropriate to their situation in the face of threats from the fires under the extreme weather conditions on the day.
While considerable research has investigated community members’ intentions to prepare for possible future bushfire threat, to date little research has focused on the reasons behind intentions for survival actions under imminent bushfire threat, and in particular why some people choose to wait and see how the bushfire situation develops.
This project aims to enhance understanding of the reasons why community members might choose to leave, stay and defend or to wait and see what develops, upon receiving a warning of bushfire threat.
This research will help influence policies on evacuating, sheltering and defending in the face of natural and man-made hazards and disasters.
The researchers participated in the collaborative research taskforce that interviewed residents after the fires around Perth in January and February of 2011.
A community survey is now underway for several selected communities.
The questionnaire can be accessed here: