2019-20 Bushfire outlook not good!

2019-20 Bushfire outlook not good!

Bushfire outlook for 2019-20 not good news, but will we heed the warnings?

Posted on 30.08.2019

The country’s top emergency officials have today warned of the dangers of the impending bushfire season, imploring the public to make sure their disaster plans are ready.

The 2019 Bushfire Outlook outlines the potential threat for each state and territory, yet despite all the uniforms, the stern tone and sincerity of the warnings, many of us will not take action.

“Our research shows that whenever we go into communities post events, a large proportion of that community are not well prepared for the fire season,” said Dr Richard Thornton from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC).

“A lot of people were surprised that they were impacted by fires.”

So why do some people not heed the warnings, and why are so many of us unprepared to deal with disaster?

Key points:

  • There’s above-normal fire risk along much of the east coast, as well as parts of SA and WA
  • Officials in NSW equate the risk there to 2013, when 200 homes were lost in one afternoon in the Blue Mountains
  • Experts say there are many reasons why people still don’t heed warnings or have a disaster plan

Why don't people listen to warnings?

Dr Mel Taylor, an organisational psychologist at Macquarie University and the BNHCRC, specialises in disaster, and said there were many reasons why people might not heed warnings or have a plan.

“Maybe people don’t realise they’re at risk or that they discount that risk for one reason or another,” she said.

“That’s where it gets interesting for me in the social science area, because I’m more interested in why people might not be thinking that it relates to them.”

One reason may be that the warnings are not localised enough and people dismiss them; another is that people are innately optimistic — everyone thinks it won’t happen to them.

Then perhaps there are just only so many things we can worry about, according to Dr Taylor.

“Disasters and emergencies tend to be things that don’t happen very often, so compared to worrying about getting the kids to school and paying for excursions, planning for emergencies just doesn’t get up to the top of the ladder in terms of the things you need to think about,” she said.

“Thinking about making a plan is not making a plan.”

Kate Doyle
ABC News

For more bushfire ready resources, go to Are You Bushfire Prepared?







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