DISASTERS can strike at anytime. Red Cross’ latest survey reveals more than 90% of us don’t have a plan and more than 80% don’t have an emergency kit, even though we know how important being prepared is.
“Every year all over Australia disasters affect thousands of people. Lives are lost, people are injured, and homes, property, businesses and communities suffer devastating damage,” Red Cross’ National Coordinator Emergency Preparedness John Richardson says.
As we launch Red Cross’ annual Disaster Preparedness Week (7 to 13 September 2014) we are urging people to protect the important things in their lives by planning for a disaster.
“While just under half of people we surveyed had at least thought about the risks they face, which is good news, we want people to do more to prepare themselves for disaster.”
The survey found while 85% of people know it’s important to prepare for an emergency, the reality is that 92% of people haven’t made a written plan and just over half haven’t even thought about the risks they face.
“When people lose precious possessions in a disaster it can be devastating – sometimes it can be as traumatic as coping with the disaster itself – and can make recovery so much harder,” he says. “You need to think about and plan how you’re going to protect those irreplaceable items.”
Everyone has belongings precious to them. “For me it’s things like my old footy jumper, my dad’s sewing kit that he took sailing around the world, war medals that belonged to my grandfather and father, a CD of U2’s Achtung Baby– the first gift my wife ever gave me, and a little toy one of my daughters made me and that keeps me safe on plane trips.”
We asked our survey participants what they would grab if they had to quickly leave their home in an emergency – most said their mobile phone (70%), computer, laptop or tablet (59%), photographs (46%) and jewellery, watches and valuable accessories (39%).
“Once you know what’s important, you need a plan to protect it. This can be as simple as making sure ahead of time your photos or laptop data is stored in a cloud or that your most precious jewellery is in one go-to place. Simple actions like this can make all the difference in an emergency,” Mr Richardson says.
“The fact is that disaster will probably strike you or someone close to you at some time in your life, and when it does it’s likely to be sudden, its impact can last for years and can cause considerable stress to you and your family,” says Mr Richardson. “We’re urging everyone to develop a clear plan to protect not only themselves and their families, but also the things that are important to them.
Red Cross thanks First National Foundation, Medibank Community Fund and Land Rover for supporting our work to help people prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
For more information on disaster preparedness and to download our free emergency planning resources, REDiPlan, visit www.redcross.org.au/disasterprepweek
Source: Australian Red Cross
Image: EPA/Simon Mossman Australia & New Zealand OUT