Investigating rural community communication for flood and bushfire preparedness

Boon, Helen (2014) Investigating rural community communication for flood and bushfire preparedness. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, 29 (4). pp. 17-25.

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Abstract

Communicating risk is vital so that communities can prepare to meet approaching natural hazards. This study examined access to emergency communications and subsequent levels of preparedness in two rural Australian communities, Ingham in Queensland and Beechworth in Victoria. In 2009 these towns experienced a flood and fire disaster respectively. Focus interview data were used to design a survey which was completed by 546 respondents across the two communities. Results showed that preparedness was most strongly predicted when emergency communications were received from neighbourhood and community member sources rather than the media or other organisations. Findings also highlighted that communities are inherently different and need targeted emergency communications, tailored to the disaster type and community composition. In particular, the elderly and the unemployed reported social isolation and less access to mobile phone and internet communications. The findings show that emergency communications need to be two-way so that those at risk in an emergency can access specific advice about their household and what action to take to protect themselves and their property. Neighbourhood influences appear to be important in mobilising preparedness actions in the two communities studied.

Item ID: 35958
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: flood, fire, communications, disaster, community resilience, media
ISSN: 1324-1540
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2014 03:56
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111705 Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9610 Natural Hazards > 961010 Natural Hazards in Urban and Industrial Environments @ 100%
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