Tweed Daily News

Residents not ready for disaster

NINETY-FOUR per cent of Murwillumbah residents would not know what to do if a disaster struck.

This is just one of the shocking statistics the Foundation of Public Safety Professionals discovered when it surveyed 100 people living in and around Murwillumbah.

“The results we got were astounding,” said co-founder Kyle Watson of the survey conducted three weeks ago, just one week prior to the floods.

“We couldn't believe it. We were very shocked.”

Among the results, 98 per cent of people said they did not have a disaster kit with enough items to last three days, 91 per cent did not know how their family would be cared for during or after a disaster and 89 per cent of people said they did not have an emergency safety plan.

However, 91 per cent of participants said they would be able to safely evacuate to a safe predetermined location.

“We picked Murwillumbah to survey because it's a disaster-prone area,” Mr Watson said.

“These results are the standard throughout Australia.”

Mr Watson said the appalling figures should encourage people to instigate a family safety plan in their home.

“It's quite clear from the survey that most people are unprepared,” he said.

“What I think is the community really don't give a damn about their own safety until it all goes belly up and they expect everybody to come running.

“Why put emergency services peoples' lives at risk when in a couple of minutes you can make your own plan?”

Similarly, 64 per cent of surveyed people said they were unsure if the local emergency services would be able to cope with a disaster situation.

The Foundation of Public Safety Professionals, established in 2004, aims to not only respond to disasters when they occur through relief, but to also educate Australians about the sources of risk and how to prepare themselves, their families, and their immediate environment, in the event of a threat of or actual disaster.

Mr Watson said every home should have a family safety plan including information such as a meeting place if you become separated from your family, contact numbers for family members, work, school and an out-of-town contact, escape routes and more.

“You should also assemble a disaster supplies kit with three days' supply of essentials you can take at a moment's notice,” he said.

For more information go to www.psp.org.au or www.first24hrs. com.



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