|Title||Children in disasters: the role of household preparedness|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2017|
|Authors||McNeill, IM, Ronan, K|
To increase children’s resilience to disasters, it is important to expand our understanding of what increases their vulnerability. One household factor that has been tied to disaster resilience in general is the extent to which households have prepared themselves. In the context of wildfire preparedness, the current study examined whether households with very young, young, or teenage children differ in the extent to which they prepare their household compared to childless households. A two-wave survey study amongst Australian residents of wildfire-prone areas (Nwave1 = 998, Nwave2 = 514) found that households with young (under twelve years old) and very young (under six years old) children had prepared their properties less for wildfires compared to childless households at the start of the wildfire season, but they had caught up in property preparedness by the end of it. However, households with younger children also performed fewer disaster-planning actions than childless households. This difference remained significant throughout the season. The former group also reported lower motivation to prepare, greater perceived difficulty in preparing, and greater lack of time to prepare than childless households. The majority of these findings were explained by the younger age of the adult parents rather than the presence of younger children per se. An exception was that those with young and very young children reported a greater lack of time to prepare than childless adults of a similar age. We discuss practice and public policy implications that follow from this research.