AFTERMATH: The Australian Defence Force member helping John Hughes, at Airlie Beach home, by cutting logs that fell on his house Cyclone Debbie.
AFTERMATH: The Australian Defence Force member helping John Hughes, at Airlie Beach home, by cutting logs that fell on his house Cyclone Debbie. Wesley Monts

How we can better protect our homes from disaster

ONE IN five homes in Central Queensland is completely unprepared for a disaster.

Despite living in a state plagued by storms, heatwaves, floods, fires and cyclones, many of us have admitted we are not taking even the simple precaution of installing operational smoke alarms.

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services survey found nearly a quarter of all homes from Bowen to Gladstone do not have operational smoke alarms.

This is the worst rate of Queensland regions, and significantly below the statewide average of 80 per cent.

This comes as statewide rates for operational smoke alarms experience a two-year fall from 87 per cent in 2016, to 80 per cent in 2018.

Despite this, Central Queenslanders believe they are the most prepared for a man-made or natural catastrophe, as 81 per cent of respondents say they are ready to face a disaster.

Almost a third of Queenslanders admit they have not prepared in any way for any disaster.

The worst-prepared region was in the south-east, where 37 per cent of homes say they would be caught completely off guard.

As the tropical summer brings rain and cyclones to Queensland, only 43 per cent of Central Queensland homes are ready for floods.

A little over half of residents surveyed from Bowen to Gladstone felt they were prepared for a cyclone, with 54 per cent saying they were ready.

Unsurprisingly, the levels of cyclone preparedness increases the further north residents are, with 62 per cent of Far North Queenslanders saying they are confident in their cyclone preparations.

Only 57 per cent of Central Queensland home owners who said they were at risk of bushfire, also believed they were adequately prepared.

It seems two in five homes in Central Queensland are expecting the power to fail, having installed a back-up energy supply - the most back-up generators per households in the state.

In the event of massive damage to their homes, or their possessions, most Central Queenslanders are sceptical about insurance coverage.

Half of Central Queensland said they did not think insurance would adequately cover disaster damage, while 30 per cent said they were "not at all” confident in their coverage.

The threat of climate change seems present in the minds of central Queenslanders, with more than 60 per cent of people believing it will increase the frequency of future bushfires, cyclones, floods, heatwaves and storms.