Fire, Families and Decisions

The Wangary fire (January 10-11 2005) in South Australia was a severe, shorter duration fire and the most devastating to hit South Australia since the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983.  It claimed nine lives.  Six of these fatalities were women and children fleeing the fire in vehicles.

The researcher lived in the fire affected region for two months, conducting interviews with families who experienced the Wangary fire.

The data acquired from these in-depth interviews is being analysed with a specific focus on household decision-making:  What are the decision-making processes in families under crisis? 

This research project uses a qualitative methodology to explore family dynamics and the types of decisions made under duress.  It delves into decision-making and the assumptions that underpin the ‘prepare stay and defend or go early’ policy with the crisis decision making of familiesthreatened by fire.  

Acknowledging and understanding how families make decisions in critical times can help shape future education programs and contribute to the modification, application and implementation of the ‘prepare, stay and defend  or go early’ policy.

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Publications from this Project


Authors M. Proudley