One of the key findings of the latest annual nationwide survey* by Red Cross on the state of Australia’s readiness for emergencies, is that seven in 10 Aussies say strong community bonds sustained them through COVID19, but more action needed to prepare for future lockdowns and looming disasters.
From Monday 31 August to Monday 7 September, Australian Red Cross runs its annual Emergency Preparedness Week urging all Australians, young and old, to get ready and be prepared for more bushfires, floods as well as COVID19 outbreaks and lockdowns.
Red Cross National Resilience Adviser John Richardson sais the 2020 survey reveals close to seven in 10 (65%) credit strong connections with friends and family as the most important factor in helping them manage during what has been a year of extremes with the summer fires and now the pandemic.
A sign of community spirit
‘In a true sign of community spirit, Australians will give the shirt off their own back for one another, with strong levels of community trust, with around six in 10 (58%) believing the community will come together to help in a crisis.’
The survey also showed around four in five (77%) Australians believe we need to prepare better for pandemics, but over half (52%) don’t know-how.
‘Living through COVID19 more than half of us (56%) are thinking of the risks for future outbreaks but fewer are inclined to actively prepare. Alarmingly around one in five (20%) are taking no action saying it’s not even realistic to prepare,’ said Mr Richardson.
‘Red Cross wants to assure people that preparing for another virus outbreak and indeed any other weather-related or manmade crisis later this year is possible. It’s something well within our control, and it will help us recover better in the long term.
‘The great majority are aware of increasing weather-related crises, but only around two in five (35%) are taking active steps to prepare for the next fire season.
‘Even in communities where people are highly confident their town is prepared for future emergencies, just under half (40%) still don’t believe their community is ready for bushfires, heatwaves and floods.
Excellent progress in awareness
‘We are making excellent progress in awareness, with most of us considering possible risks, but we will need to take more action, as just one in five (21%) of us have identified a safe place to meet or identified someone who could help in a crisis for instance.
Mr Richardson that the Red Cross knows from long experience of responding to emergencies, that taking simple actions like being informed, having a reliable person you can call on for assistance and getting organised by making a plan makes people more resilient in the face of increasing hazards in our region.
‘In Emergency Preparedness Week, Red Cross is encouraging people to take action. We want to help every Australian get prepared, both physically and emotionally, for the emergencies they may face,’ Mr Richardson said.
You can’t stop emergencies from happening, but you can reduce how much they affect you. Take action now to prepare yourself and those you love for whatever may come your way:redcross.org.au/prepare