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Tue, 25 Aug 2020

How do you prepare for a disaster?

looking up to a palm tree blowing in wind
Psychology Honours student Benjamin Rath is investigating how people physically and psychologically prepare for extreme weather events, such as cyclones. Image: Meduana, Unsplash.

A JCU researcher wants to understand what motivates people to prepare for disasters, with the aim of improving public warning campaigns.

Psychology Honours student Benjamin Rath is investigating how people physically and psychologically prepare for extreme weather events, such as cyclones.

“Understanding what motivates people to prepare would enable more effective disaster communication by governments and emergency services,” he said.

Mr Rath said that although research shows implementing structural changes and adequately preparing your property for an extreme weather event can reduce damage, adoption is not widespread.

“In order to promote the importance of these changes, I want to understand the psychological factors that help or hinder their implementation,” he said.

“Communities on the Queensland coast are at an increased risk of cyclones and cyclone-related damage and I want to understand those psychological factors so we can improve disaster preparedness for the future.”

Mr Rath said being prepared for a disaster is more than just reducing the risk of structural damage and injury.

“Being prepared for a disaster increases people’s ability to cope, adapt and recover,” he said. “It also contributes to minimising the financial impacts of the disaster.”

Mr Rath is conducting an online survey about how people have previously prepared for extreme weather events and their attitudes towards preparing for them in the future. Take the survey here: https://jcuchs.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bPeGn5LGvYw6ouN