Is the allocation of resources towards mitigation and response to fire in Australia optimal?

Brian Ashe*, John McAneney, Andy Pitman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Australia invests significant resources to address the risk of fire in all its forms. This study asks the question: is the current investment strategy cost-effective? This question was approached in two ways: first, through a cross-sectional study of fire statistics from other developed countries and, second, through a structured expert judgment exercise. The former found no significant relationship between the level of investment and losses from fire, suggesting that other factors are responsible for the observed inter-country variance in fire losses. All the respondents to the structured expert judgment exercise perceived no net economic benefit would be achieved from increasing investments in prevention and response and most indicated net benefits from reducing this investment. The results of the expert judgment analysis, when considered alongside the equivocal international comparisons and fire service efficiency gains achieved in some parts of England and Wales, raise doubts about whether the allocation of investments in mitigation and response in Australia is truly risk-informed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)381-393
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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