North Queenslanders are more likely to surge towards cyclone preparations if they think their actions will make a difference and if it doesn’t cost too much.
But experience triumphs over hope for older residents who’ve been through a cyclone before.
Researchers at James Cook University quizzed more than 350 people in Queensland’s north about their attitudes towards preparing for a cyclone, and they found people were more likely to get ready if they thought preparedness activities were effective in reducing damage and were relatively inexpensive.
PhD candidate Mitchell Scovell, who led the study, said some people don’t prepare for cyclones at all, even though they could significantly reduce property damage and the impact of after-effects like blackouts.
“It was interesting that the perceived ability to perform preparedness activities, such as boarding up a window, had little bearing on whether they were done or not,” Mr Scovell said.
Homeowners and people with dependent children were more likely to take mitigation measures, while renters weren’t enthusiastic.
The findings show that good communications strategies could make a difference.
“Providing information about the benefits of performing preparedness activities while explaining that these behaviours are not costly should improve cyclone preparedness. This approach may be particularly important for people without cyclone experience,” Mr Scovell said.
“Messaging should encourage renters to focus on safety and security whereas landlords should focus on preparedness for mitigating property damage”
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