The Australian bushfires of 2019-2020 burned over 18 million hectares of land, destroyed over 5,000 buildings, and resulted in the loss of 34 human lives. The disaster highlights the need for improved prevention, planning, and response to natural disasters. Lessons learned include greater investment in preventative measures such as prescribed burnings and forest management, harnessing technology such as drones and satellite maps, improving emergency warning systems, increasing education and awareness among residents, enhancing collaboration between emergency response forces, and ensuring appropriate insurance coverage for homeowners and businesses. Natural disaster preparedness and communication remain key for ensuring the safety of communities in affected areas.
Surviving the Blaze: Lessons Learned from Australia’s Worst Bushfires
Australia has always been a country prone to natural disasters, such as floods and bushfires. In 2019-2020, the Australian bushfires captured the world’s attention as the country is confronted with one of its worst fire seasons recorded. The fires across the country burned more than 18 million hectares of land and claimed 34 lives, destroyed over 5,000 buildings, and resulted in widespread environmental damage. The fires had a significant impact on Australian’s community, businesses, and wildlife.
In the aftermath of the catastrophic Australian bushfires, the country has learned several lessons on how to prepare, plan and respond to bushfires. Here are the lessons learned:
1. Prevention is better than cure
With Australia’s propensity for bushfires, the best course of action is prevention. Australia’s fire authorities have always encouraged residents to prepare their home against fire, such as clearing gutters, removing flammable objects, and having a bushfire survival plan. With the new lessons learned from the bushfire catastrophe, the government may invest more in preventative measures such as forest management, prescribed burnings to reduce the risk of bushfires.
2. Leverage technology for monitoring and emergency response
The Australian bushfires have seen the use of technology like never before. Drones were deployed to survey affected areas, and satellite maps proved instrumental in mapping bushfire behavior. Technology has also played an essential role in mitigating the devastating effects of the bushfires, whether through firefighting or emergency response.
3. Community engagement and awareness
The bushfires also highlight the importance of community engagement and awareness. Education and awareness are key to ensuring residents are equipped to handle a bushfire hazard in their area. The government should continue to educate residents about bushfire risks and how to be prepared. Meanwhile, the community must be aware of the latest bushfire updates and weather conditions.
4. Improvement of Emergency Warning System
The bushfires have shed light on what works and what doesn’t, in terms of emergency warning systems. The government should invest in proper early-warning systems that provide accurate and timely information to the public, enabling them to take preventative measures. In urban areas, emergency response teams must be equipped with the latest technology to help them locate, track, and respond to incidents.
5. Collaboration between various emergency response forces
The bushfires necessitated collaboration between various emergency response forces, including firefighters, police, and the army. The government must ensure that all emergency response forces are adequately equipped and trained to respond to disasters like bushfires.
6. Insurance coverage
The bushfires have been devastating for homeowners and businesses that lost their properties. While no amount of insurance can compensate for the loss of life, property, and wildlife during the bushfires, having adequate coverage could provide some relief.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is a bushfire survival plan?
A bushfire survival plan is a plan that outlines what you would do in case there is a bushfire near your area. It includes things like knowing your local area’s bushfire risk, deciding when you should leave and where you would go, what you would do if you get trapped, or how you will stay informed.
Q. How can I protect my property from bushfires?
Clear gutters and remove flammable objects such as dry leaves, twigs, and paper around your residence. Keep your lawns and gardens tidy and ensure that trees and branches are trimmed. It is also essential to check your home’s fire rating and ensure it is up to the appropriate standard.
Q. How can I stay informed about bushfire activity?
You can stay informed by monitoring the latest weather updates and fire danger ratings in your area. You can also download apps such as Fires Near Me app to track bushfire activity in your surrounding area. Tune in to your local radio station for regular bushfire updates.
Q. What should I include in my emergency kit?
Your emergency kit should include items such as a radio, first aid kit, torch, portable charger, water bottles, and non-perishable food. It’s also important to include medications, important documents, and cash. Make sure you pack spare clothes and blankets in case you must leave your home quickly.
In conclusion, the Australian bushfires have taught us several valuable lessons about being prepared for bushfires. The best course of action for residents is to be vigilant, communicate, be informed, and have a solid bushfire survival plan in place. Incorporating these lessons learned into emergency planning practices and response procedures will help ensure safety and reduce the destruction caused by bushfires in the future.