Millions of Australian households are being urged to prepare for wild weather events and emergencies after a survey revealed about half the population doesn’t have a plan.
One in five families has discussed the safest place to meet in an emergency and more than 12.3 million people have no emergency plan at all, according to the research.
Australian Red Cross head of emergency services Andrew Coghlan says this needs to change.
“Emergencies can occur anywhere, at any time and when they happen there are lots of decisions to make,” Mr Coghlan said on Tuesday.
“Last year alone, Australian Red Cross supported more than 130,000 people during emergencies such as bushfires, floods and severe storms.”
The NRMA Insurance research found younger people aged 18 to 34 and city-dwellers were less likely to have an emergency plan.
It also revealed many Australians were not well connected to their neighbours, with one in three respondents stating they do not know them well enough to rely on them for support in an emergency.
Apathy around emergency planning was also evident in pet owners, with two-thirds stating they do not know where they would safely keep their pets.
The findings follow the launch of the updated Get Prepared app for householders to create an all-hazards emergency plan, based on the Red Cross RediPlan disaster preparedness guide.
The app stores information needed during an emergency such as key contacts, meeting places and important documents.
It also prompts people to consider how they would manage stress during and after an emergency.
The advice to have an emergency plan is particularly important with a warmer and drier winter forecast than average, leading into a riskier bushfire season.
NRMA Insurance received 10,151 claims for wild weather damage to homes and vehicles nationally during autumn.
Most of these claims were for damage to vehicles (5478) with intense hailstorms in NSW causing extensive damage in late May.
NRMA Insurance executive manager of claims Natalie Major urged households to take three steps to prepare for wild weather this winter.
“Make an emergency plan using the Get Prepared app, share your contact details with your neighbours and discuss your emergency plan with your household,” she said.
The findings are based on a survey of 3500 people across Australia.
(Australian Associated Press)