‘Prepare for the worst, hope for the best’

Exclusive: Many Australians are leaving themselves underprepared if a severe weather-related emergency hits, including bushfires, as we approach the warmer months, an alarming new report has found.

Data obtained from the Australian Red Cross by News Corp shows only one in three people have stored important documents in a safe place, while just 25 per cent have taken steps to protect sentimental items.

One in five people have identified someone local who could help in an emergency and have put an emergency kit together and around 10 per cent have written an emergency plan.

Queenslanders are the most prepared for emergencies across the country.

They are also acutely aware of emergencies by comparison to every state.

Dan Angus played a pivotal role in helping residents to safety when the Townsville floods hit. Picture: Supplied
Dan Angus played a pivotal role in helping residents to safety when the Townsville floods hit. Picture: Supplied

More than half of Queenslanders (53 per cent) have thought about the risks compared to the national average (40 per cent).

More than 42 per cent have thought about an emergency plan compared to the national average of 33 per cent.

This research comes as the Bureau of Meteorology say that many areas of Australia are facing early season bushfires, hotter temperatures and below average rain in the months ahead.

Red Cross National Manager Emergency Services Andrew Coghlan said the data confirms Australians of all ages are acutely aware of the potential toll of disasters compared with events as extreme as a terror attack.

The Queenslander’s home was badly damaged.
The Queenslander’s home was badly damaged.

He said the survey was a timely reminder of how people can reduce the impacts of an emergency.

"We still need to take more action as our survey shows only 19 per cent have identified someone local who could help in an emergency and only one-in-three have stored important documents in a safe place," Mr Coghlan said.

"Parents with children under 18 top the country and are more likely to have taken actual steps to prepare, like putting an emergency kit together or writing a plan.

"Red Cross wants to see millions of Australians prepared for a disaster, because being prepared can reduce your stress and help you cope better afterwards."

The results also found more than half of Australians also say severe weather-related emergencies are more disruptive than terrorist attacks.

Dan Angus is advising other Australians to be prepared.
Dan Angus is advising other Australians to be prepared.

Father-of-two Dan Angus, 40, lived through the Townsville floods and is rebuilding his home and life after the disaster.

"I made a decision kids versus dogs and helped families locally get to safety. I stayed with family from next door. They are from Malaysia. They hadn't had so much experience with an emergency," he said.

Mr Angus, who has a military background, advised other Australians to be prepared.

"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best. I was knee deep in water, and it was flowing," he said.

"It is very important to read all your policies for insurance before it happens, and know what to pack quickly," he said.

 

 

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman (QFES) said it was important that Queenslanders are prepared for all types of emergencies, including flooding, cyclones and bushfires and understand the specific risks associated with each type.

"It only takes one severe weather system, cyclone or bushfire to catch residents unprepared and put them at the risk of danger," the spokeswoman said.

From today, the Red Cross is running its annual Emergency Preparation Week urging all Australians to be prepared.

YOUR ESSENTIAL EMERGENCY CHECKLIST

1. Torches.

2. Make sure you have some cash for basic needs.

3. Bottled water.

4. Non-perishable food.

5. First-aid kit.

6. Blankets/protective clothing.

7. Pet essentials.

8. Scans or copies if important documents including passports, wills, land titles, insurance papers.

9. Toys/comfort items for children.

10. Set yourself an annual reminder to check your survive and recover kit.

Source: Red Cross.