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Experiences of tourists and locals needed to improve bushfire communication


A new research project is seeking to learn from the experiences of residents from Batemans Bay, Malua Bay, Mogo, Eurobodalla and the Bega Valley to assist the New South Wales Rural Fire Service continue to improve community bushfire safety.

Conducted by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre and the University of Wollongong for the NSW Rural Fire Service, researchers want to hear directly from both residents and visitors to the area about their fire preparedness and response to the bushfires across NSW in 2019/20. 

Lead researcher Dr Josh Whittaker said the views of anyone who was affected by the fire are important. 

“Your experience is unique and can help make a difference during future bushfires. We would like to better understand bushfire risk and awareness, actions you may have taken to plan and prepare, and how you responded to warnings and the bushfires, whether you were directly or indirectly affected,” Dr Whittaker said. 

“It is important to hear from residents, as well tourists, visitors or those who might have been at their holiday home.” 

Due to COVID-19 interviews will be conducted via phone or web conferencing (Zoom, Skype), and take between 45 minutes and an hour to complete. Researchers are available after hours and on weekends throughout August. Register your interest in participating at www.bnhcrc.com.au/nsw-bushfire-survey

As well as Batemans Bay, Malua Bay, Mogo, Eurobodalla and the Bega Valley, this research is being undertaken in communities right across NSW - Hawkesbury, the Blue Mountains and Lithgow; the Mid North Coast and Kempsey; the Northern Tablelands; Shoalhaven; Snowy Monaro, the Snowy Valleys; and the Southern Highlands and Wollondilly.

The results of the research will be used to inform community engagement strategies, said Anthony Clark, Director Communications and Engagement at the NSW Rural Fire Service. 

“The 2019/20 fire season was devastating and affected so many people right across New South Wales. By hearing from you, we will be able to continue improve community bushfire safety in NSW.” 

This research builds on a similar study which was undertaken after the 2018 Reedy Swamp fire. 

Results from the research will be available at www.bnhcrc.com.au once the study is complete. A donation to support this research from Jefferies Financial Group to the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is gratefully acknowledged.


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