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Survey for preparedness for animals in emergencies
Survey for preparedness for animals in emergencies

Participants wanted for survey on animal owners’ emergency preparedness and planning

Are you an animal owner living in the Blue Mountains, or surrounding areas of the Hawkesbury, Lithgow or Penrith? Your participation in a survey could help inform local community emergency preparedness for animals.

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researcher Dr Mel Taylor is conducting a survey to assess emergency preparedness for animals, learn about experiences, and identify issues that have occurred in previous emergencies regarding animals. The results of the survey will identify local needs and gaps when it comes to preparing and planning for animals in emergencies. The survey is available online at www.surveymonkey.com/r/animals-in-emergencies-survey.

The survey is open for the next six weeks, closing on Tuesday 18 April.

The survey is being conducting to support a community project funded by the Blue Mountains Mayoral Bushfire Fund called Blue ARC: Animal Ready Community. The overarching aim of Blue ARC is to support community resilience in emergency events through better awareness, preparedness, planning and response for companion animals, livestock and native wildlife.

Dr Taylor, CRC project leader for the Managing animals in disasters project is assisting the Blue ARC group in conducting the research. Dr Taylor says she hopes the survey results will provide more information about the general levels of preparedness of animal owners in the Blue Mountains, the Hawkesbury, Lithgow and Penrith.

“The survey will enable us to gain a profile of the complexities animal owners face in this area. For example, numbers and variety of animals, access to cars/transport, ability to get home to evacuate animals in an emergency, responsibility beyond their own household pets, such as parents' or neighbours' animals, issues for those with commercial animal businesses, or commitments to local wildlife,” she says.

The survey includes a section on people’s experiences, if they have previously been through an emergency event with their animals; including decisions made prior to the emergency, actions taken during the emergency and where they went with their animals if they evacuated. It also aims to start exploring the impacts of animal loss on recovery. All individual responses and personal information provided will be kept confidential.

The results will help to identify the current problems and gaps, as well as the help and information needed to assist people with their planning, preparedness and response.

“The latter is important as this assists us with supporting local animal owners. It will enable us to ask questions, seek information from the right sources and have some evidence of the extent of the problem when seeking that information,” says Dr Taylor.

As part of the MAiD project Dr Taylor plans to produce a 'how to' guide and resources pack, informed by the survey results and other activities with Blue ARC, to assist communities wanting to set up similar ARC initiatives elsewhere.

For more information contact Dr Taylor at mel.taylor@mq.edu.au.

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