Perth hills households asked to join bushfire study by post and online

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Three thousand households in and around the Perth hills areas affected by the February bushfires are being asked to take part in a postal survey on their experiences during the bushfires.

The large-scale postal survey expands on a face-to-face survey of 400 residents in the Roleystone, Kelmscott and Red Hill areas. Additionally, residents can take part in an internet-based version of the survey.

The survey – conducted by the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre and the University of Western Australia  School of Psychology – will help build on a knowledge base that fire agencies use to improve community bushfire safety.

“By telling us about your experience, expectations and knowledge of the bushfires, you will be making an important contribution to the prevention of future bushfire emergencies,” says Professor David Morrison, a Bushfire CRC Research Leader and Head of the School of Psychology at UWA.

The survey will ask questions about topics including what the communities knew about bushfire safety prior to the fires, how they interpret and respond to messages the fire services send out before and during fires, and how communities understand their role in fire safety.

“I’m really happy with how the face-to-face surveys have gone,” said Professor Morrison. 

“We recognise that many families lost property and possessions in the bushfires, and there is potential for distress among people asked to take part in the survey and appreciate their willingness to share their experiences.”

Dr Richard Thornton,  Deputy CEO and Research Director of the Bushfire CRC, said the study and its methodology was developed from the extensive work the Bushfire CRC  conducted in Victoria immediately after the Black Saturday fires of February 2009.

“By completing the survey, residents will be providing a voice to the community input to this important area of research which has been a strong focus of our efforts since the Victorian fires,” Dr Thornton said.

The Bushfire CRC was asked by the Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia to conduct the study. The responses will be collated and analysed before a report is presented to FESA .

Residents living in Roleystone, Kelmscott and Red Hill are also invited to take part in an internet-based survey managed by the University of Western Australia. This survey can be accessed here.

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Release date

Tue, 19/04/2011