Bassendean: Curtin University psychology students develop bushfire preparedness survey

Curtin University students Tess Wilkinson, left, Oliver Offer, lecturer Andrew Chapman and students Jake Benson and Chan Young Chung are conducting research into bushfire preparedness. Picture: David Baylis.
Curtin University students Tess Wilkinson, left, Oliver Offer, lecturer Andrew Chapman and students Jake Benson and Chan Young Chung are conducting research into bushfire preparedness. Picture: David Baylis.

A GROUP of Curtin University students are investigating how prepared households are for bushfires, in a bid to improve bushfire education and resources.

The research involved an online survey with questions about bushfire preparation, bushfire knowledge and demographics.

Students will summarise the results in dissertations before developing key findings.

They are seeking at least 300 participants living in any bushfire prone area to take the survey, which ends on September 30.

Curtin University psychology lecturer and chief investigator Andrew Chapman said the group was using a new measure of psychological preparedness developed by University of Western Australia doctoral student Jessica Boylan.

“There is still a lot we don’t understand about why people prepare for bushfires or not, particularly the mental side of preparing,” he said.

“Research has shown that being prepared – that is having a plan of what you are going to do if there is a high risk of bushfires – is crucial in saving lives in the event of a bushfire.”

He said the goal of the research was to provide more information to help fire authorities and other organisations understand things they need to take into account when developing resources.

Town of Bassendean community development director Graeme Haggart, who was contacted by the team to help promote the survey, said prepared residents could maximise their resources to try to put out a fire.

“Bushfires devastate families and traumatise communities,” he said.

“It is self-evident that the better prepared each household is, the smaller the impact the bushfire will have, and the sooner everyone will recover back to normal afterwards.”

Click here for the survey.

For information about the research, email Andrew Chapman at andrew.chapman@curtin.edu.au.

Click here for information on bushfire preparation.