Ensure you’re ready for cyclone season by reflecting on disaster preparedness

The Bureau of Meteorology has declared a La Niña situation – meaning an above average number of cyclones are expected to hit eastern and northern Australia this summer. Although disaster preparedness won’t look quite the same this year as it has in recent summers, now is the time to reflect on your disaster preparedness plan to ensure you’re ready for cyclone season.

Examining effects of past disasters to prepare for cyclone season

Australians are no strangers to the long-lasting effects of disaster on peoples’ lives. Between the Black Summer bushfires, New South Wales floods, Melbourne storms, and COVID-19 – the last couple of years have been relentless. As we head into summer, examining the hard-won lessons from previous disasters can help us prepare for this year’s predictions of La Niña and cyclone season.

The Australian Red Cross recently surveyed people who lived through fire and flood disasters between 2008 and 2019 – and identified a number of steps people wished they’d taken before disaster struck. Research also shows when it comes to disaster preparedness, there are four distinct types of people. By examining and identifying these disaster preparedness trends, we can identify gaps in our own disaster plans – helping us to prepare cyclone season and future disasters.

Key findings in disaster research

To help us fully understand the best way to plan for disaster, it’s important to examine both immediate effects and long-lasting impacts on our communities. Whether it’s floods, bushfires, or a pandemic – the challenges and complexity of the recovery process is different for every individual. In a survey conducted by the Australian Red Cross of participants who experienced disaster between 2008 and 2019, key findings include:

  • Feeling prepared leads to a decrease in stress during the recovery process. The less stress you feel during a disaster, the better your recovery up to 10 years after disaster strikes.
  • The more actions people take to prepare, the more they feel prepared during a crisis. However, a small number of respondents felt prepared when they hadn’t taken any action before a disaster, which is likely due to the lack of knowledge around disaster preparedness best-practice.
  • Most respondents who received preparedness advice from Australian Red Cross or the Get Prepared app had recovered. Those who received advice from family or friends were less likely to feel in control during an emergency.

The Australian Red Cross Get Prepared app can help you prepare for cyclone season.Four disaster preparedness types this cyclone season

Research shows four distinct types of people when it comes to preparing for disasters. Understanding how you prepare and act during a crisis can help you effectively prepare for cyclone season and future disasters. It can also help you seek custom disaster preparedness resources and ensure you don’t miss any vital steps when preparing for the worst.

The four disaster preparedness types are below – do you identify with any?

Understanding your disaster preparedness type (adapted from The Conversation) can help you prepare for cyclone season

Recovery after a disaster

Recovery means something different to everyone, especially after a disaster. While conducting the survey on disaster preparedness and recovery, no definition of recovery was imposed on respondents. Rather, respondents defined recovery in their own way and were then question on how their individual preparedness led to recovery.

At the time of survey, close to 18% of respondents said they had not yet recovered from the disaster they endured and felt their preparation actions were not enough. 86% also experienced high levels of stress during recovery.

Planning for cyclone season and future disasters

Preparing for a disaster can help reduce the long-term impacts of bushfires, floods, and severe weather incidents. There are different programs to choose from when it comes to disaster preparedness, and you should choose the one that best suits your location disaster preparedness type. We’ve compiled a list of resources to help you prepare for future disasters and this summer’s looming cyclone season.

Get Prepared app

Get Prepared is an app that helps you connect with your key support people, accomplish simple tasks to make you and your loved ones safer, and protect the things that matter most to you. Get Prepared was developed by Australian Red Cross in partnership with IAG, Australia’s largest general insurer.

New South Wales disaster preparedness

Resilience NSW leads disaster and emergency efforts from prevention to recovery. They have great resources for preparing for a disaster such as the upcoming cyclone season, disaster recovery, and rescue and emergency management.

Victoria disaster preparedness

Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) works in conjunction with communities, government agencies to build safer and more resilient communities. The VicEmergency app provides Victorians with access to information and warnings about incidents including fires, storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, shark sightings, cyclones, and more.

Queensland disaster preparedness

Get Ready Queensland is a year-round program helping all Queenslanders prepare for natural disasters, including this year’s upcoming cyclone season. Being prepared before disaster hits could be the difference between staying safe or putting yourself and those you love in danger.

Emergency planning handbook

In the past decade, the cost of emergencies in Australia averages $18.2 billion per year. But the real cost is much more than monetary. The key to minimising the cost and effects of emergencies is effective emergency planning. The Emergency Planning Handbook provides nationally agreed principles for good practice in emergency planning. The approach in the handbook can be applied to developing emergency plans for all hazards and may cover all the phases of prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.