Emergency preparedness and planning for animals

a case study in the Blue Mountains, NSW

Megan McCarthy, Jenny Bigelow, Melanie Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Planning for animals in the response and recovery phases of disasters is crucial to mitigate the negative effects that the loss or separation of animals can have. The human-animal bond can influence people's decisions during emergencies including how they will respond and when or if they evacuate. This paper uses results of a survey of residents in the Blue Mountains, NSW, who own animals to identify their emergency preparedness and their intended actions in an emergency event. The survey revealed complex animal ownership patterns and respondents showed strong bonds with their pets and were motivated to protect their animals. There was a high level of self-reported general emergency preparedness and almost three-quarters of respondents said they included their animals in their emergency planning. However, more than half were unsure where they would take them and a third were unsure if they could take them. Findings suggest that preparedness information be locally specific and consider the complexities of animal ownership, including the need for species-specific resources and information about animals that cannot be evacuated. A case study is used to examine and understand the links between the human-animal bond, disaster preparedness and resilience and the recovery of individuals and communities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-56
Number of pages7
JournalThe Australian Journal of Emergency Management
Volume33
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
EventBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC conference (2018) - Perth, Australia
Duration: 5 Sep 20188 Sep 2018

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