Understanding preparedness and recovery

A survey of people’s preparedness and recovery experience for emergencies
Disaster resilience Disaster planning Emergency care Family services Community services Disasters Australia
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Understanding preparedness and recovery 2.75 MB

Emergency recovery goes beyond survival. It is a complex process with potentially long-lasting impacts on people’s lives. Within research, policy and practice, there is a widespread assumption that preparing for a disaster has a positive impact on recovery. However, there is a limited amount of research proving this link between preparedness actions and recovery, and most preparedness actions are focused on hazard survival, and the first 72 hours after a disaster.

As part of the goal of Australian Red Cross to equip three million people to prepare for and recover from an emergency, researchers wanted to further our understanding of people’s experiences of emergency and recovery. The Australian Red Cross undertook this research to better understand:

  • the disruptive impacts of emergencies on people’s lives
  • people’s experiences of the emergency and of the recovery process
  • whether the type of preparedness actions taken influences recovery outcomes and is influenced by personal characteristics

In particular, researchers wanted to better understand the link between preparedness actions and enhanced recovery.

This report examines the emergency experiences of 165 people who lived through a disaster between 2008 and 2019. The analysis of the survey responses relies on descriptive statistics, and factor and cluster analyses.

Key recommendations:

  • there should be an increased focus on preparing for the long-term impacts of a disaster in preparedness programs
  • there needs to be a differentiated approach in preparedness based on people’s profile and what they specifically need support in
  • there is a need to ensure that psychological preparedness focuses on experiences during and after a disaster
  • more research should be undertaken to further investigate which actions support enhanced recovery
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