Resilience to Hazards

Project Status:

The increasing frequency and complexity of natural hazards poses a challenge for community resilience. Communication and education of risk mitigation strategies play an essential role in building and maintaining resilience through preparation and planning by residents.

This project, now in its utilisation phase, has combined expertise in communication, social and consumer psychology, and disaster and emergency management. It identified barriers and enablers in residents’ decision making, preparing, and planning by examining residents’ intended use of different types of triggers for action during hazards. This included when to start evacuating and what information source to use, with the aim of trying to understand why some residents form a better-quality household plan with safer intended triggers than other residents.

The increasing frequency and complexity of natural hazards poses a challenge for community resilience. Communication and education of risk mitigation strategies play an essential role in building and maintaining resilience through preparation and planning by residents.

This project, now in its utilisation phase, has combined expertise in communication, social and consumer psychology, and disaster and emergency management. It identified barriers and enablers in residents’ decision making, preparing, and planning by examining residents’ intended use of different types of triggers for action during hazards. This included when to start evacuating and what information source to use, with the aim of trying to understand why some residents form a better-quality household plan with safer intended triggers than other residents.

Surveys were conducted across bushfire and flood-prone areas in New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia. Findings include that the majority of people do not use official information sources about these hazards, so changing the content in these sources will only have limited overall effect. However, those that do use official information sources are better prepared and more motivated to prepare due to a greater sense of risk perception.

Post fire field work
17 November, 2017
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
13 October, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
DFES Bushfire Preparedness Tool
9 May, 2016
Western Australia's Department of Fire and Emergency Services is piloting a new survey tool to help households check their bushfire preparation.
Lake Mountain landscape post Black Saturday fires
15 October, 2015
What is our research about, and how will our emergency service partners benefit? Hear direct in these short videos
Flooded house Victoria
9 February, 2015
This newsletter has been put together by the Communications and warnings cluster to keep end‐users informed about key work across each of the projects.
Year Type Citation
2017 Report McNeill, I. M. & Boldero, J. Increasing residents' preparedness and planning for natural hazards: annual project report 2016-17. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Journal Article McNeill, I. M. & Dunlop, P. D. Development and preliminary validation of the Constructive and Unconstructive Worry Questionnaire: A measure of individual differences in constructive versus unconstructive worry. Psychological Assessment 28, 1368-1378 (2016).
2016 Journal Article McNeill, I. M., Dunlop, P. D., Skinner, T. C. & Morrison, D. Predicting risk-mitigating behaviors from indecisiveness and trait-anxiety: two cognitive pathways to task avoidance. Journal of Personality 84, 36-45 (2016).
2016 Journal Article McNeill, I. M., Dunlop, P. D., Skinner, T. C. & Morrison, D. A value and expectancy based approach to understanding residents' intended response to a wildfire threat. International Journal of Wildland Fire 25, (2016).
2016 Report McNeill, I. & Boldero, J. Increasing residents' preparedness and planning for natural hazards: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Journal Article McNeill, I., Dunlop, P. D., Skinner, T. C. & Morrison, D. Predicting delay in residents’ decisions on defending v. evacuating through antecedents of decision avoidance. International Journal of Wildland Fire 24, 153-161 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Cao, Y., Boruff, B. J. & McNeill, I. M. Defining Sufficient Household Preparedness for Active Wildfire Defense: Toward an Australian Baseline. Natural Hazards Review 10, (2015).
2015 Report McNeill, I. & Boldero, J. Improving the Role of Hazard Communications in Increasing Residents' Preparedness and Response Planning Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2015 Report McNeill, I. & Boldero, J. Improving the role of hazard communications in increasing residents’ preparedness and response planning: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
Improving the role of hazard communications in increasing residents' preparedness and response planning
25 Aug 2014

Communication and education of risk mitigation strategies play an essential role in building and maintaining resilience through preparation and planning by residents. However, little is known about the relative effectiveness of existing hazard communications and education strategies. 

Key Topics:
Does the Use of Information Sources Lead to Better Hazard Preparedness?
18 Aug 2015

In two studies amongst residents of bushfire and flood prone areas we examined whether residents who actively use brochures, websites, and/or go to community information sessions to prepare, end up preparing more than those who do not use these sources. The studies supported this, but also showed that the majority of the sample did not use any information sources to prepare for bushfires and floods.

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Ilona McNeill Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

Children form a vulnerable demographic in both the response and recovery phases of natural disasters

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