Research finds only one in 10 prepared for fires

Research finds only one in 10 prepared for fires

25 August 2013

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Australia — New research shows just one in ten Tasmanians affected by the January bushfires had a written action plan.

The research, presented at the Tasmanian Fire Service’s conference in Launceston on Saturday, also found more resilience training was needed for fire fighters.

“Part of the research and exercise in doing a learning field drive is to capture as much as we can out of that experience so that others can be psychologically prepared,” Christine Owen from the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre said.

“I think people who were on the fire ground and watched it ramp up were in a different space to people who might have arrived later.

“Decision making becomes particularly pressured and we’re trying to better understand that so we can take it into training.”

The crisis in early January destroyed more than 100 properties but caused no loss of life.

As a result, the fire fighting operation was considered a success.

The Fire Service’s Mike Brown says it was the first test for new systems put in place following Victoria’s catastrophic bushfires in 2009.

“Community alerts and opening community refuges and the constant media messaging we were putting out were largely untested,” he said.

But the service wants to encourage better bushfire preparation, with only 10 per cent of those affected fully prepared.

“When we looked at how many had a written plan they were very few,” Mr Brown said.

“But people would preface that by saying: ‘We did have a plan, we talked about what we would do, where we would go to and what we could take, but it was only a verbal plan.’

“If it’s done well that can be good enough but perhaps a verbal plan in a lot of instances won’t be enough.”

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