Physical bushfire preparation over time in Victoria, Australia

Carlyn Muir, John Gilbert, Rebecca O'Hara, Lesley Day, Stuart Newstead

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract Purpose: To examine the level of physical preparation for bushfire among Victorian residents in established high risk bushfire locations, and to assess whether these levels of preparation changed over time.Methods: Data were analysed from a telephone survey among Victorian residents (n=614-629) living in high risk bushfire locations over a three year period (2012-2014). The survey measured residents’ bushfire awareness, knowledge, planning, preparation and engagement with bushfire services. This paper focuses on the extent to which respondents undertook physical preparatory bushfire activities over the three year period using (i) Principal Components Analysis (PCA)to generate a single preparation variable by identifying a smaller number of uncorrelated variables (or principal components) from a larger set of data, (ii) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) to assess differences in preparation scores between years, and (iii) Tukey’s Honest Significant Difference (HSD) test to confirm where the differences occurred between groups.Findings: Results indicated only moderate levels of physical preparation for bushfires amongst respondents. The activities that respondents rated the lowest were: ‘having protective covers for windows’ and ‘having firefighting equipment to protect the house’. A significant difference in total preparation scores over time was observed, F(2, 1715) = 6.159, p<.005, with lower scores in 2012 compared with 2013 and 2014 scores.Social implications: This study found some marginal improvements in levels of physical bushfire preparation from 2012-2014. However,the results indicate only moderate levels of preparation overall,despite respondents living in established high risk locations.Value: This study provides evidence for the current levels of preparedness in high risk bushfire communities, and emphasises the need for future initiatives to focus on specific bushfire preparation activities but also to consider the broader range of interventions that are likely to contribute to desired safety outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-251
Number of pages11
JournalDisaster Prevention & Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • behaviour
  • Disaster
  • Preparedness
  • Australian bushfires

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