Emergency preparedness among the elderly and vulnerable

The 6th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held over the 22 – 23 May at The Star Gold Coast (previously Jupiter’s), Queensland.

Mr Chris Fish, Team Leader, Partnerships, Evaluation and Marketing at Fire and Rescue NSW joins us next month at the conference to discuss ‘The association between home visit programmes and emergency preparedness among elderly vulnerable people in New South Wales, Australia’.

Mr Chris Fish

The purpose of this study was to examine the association between home visit programmes and emergency preparedness among elderly vulnerable people in New South Wales, Australia. The study utilized data acquired from the Home Fire Resilience Project (HFRP), which was a collaborative undertaking by three emergency agencies in NSW.  The study consisted of 370, 255 and 156 older people at registration, during home visit, and during post-home visit respectively.

The seven emergency outcome measures (participants finding out what emergencies might affect their area, participants knowledge of where to find information during major emergencies, participants knowledge of how to pack an emergency bag, whether participants were taught how to arrange for transport during an emergency, whether participants did prepare a list of people to call during an emergency, whether participants swapped contact numbers with their neighbours and whether participants had conversation with someone else about their emergency plans) were examined by adjusting for key demographic factors, using  generalised estimating equations (GEE) model that adjusted for repeated measures in order to examine the association between home visit programmes and emergency preparedness.

After adjusting for key demographic factors, our study revealed that during visits and a post-home visit recorded significant improvements in the seven emergency outcome measures from the home visit programme, compared with registration. The odds of finding out what emergencies might affect one area were significantly lower among older participants who were born outside Australia and those who were female.

Additionally, older females had significantly higher odds of knowing how to pack an emergency bag compared to older males. Findings of the study suggested the introduction of periodic mobile telephone text messages interventions in order to improve emergency preparedness among older people especially among males and those older participants born outside Australia.

For more information on the 2017 Australian & New Zealand Disaster & Emergency Management Conference and to secure your spot, visit www.anzdmc.com.au.