Recognising and measuring competency in natural hazard preparation: A preparedness competency index

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Journal Article
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 2022, 73
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With weather-related natural hazards increasing in number and severity, it is more important than ever for communities to prepare for all types of hazards. However, the literature does not reveal what such preparedness looks like – how much preparation is enough and, conversely, how low levels of preparation can be easily recognised by emergency agencies. This study maps Australian emergency agency understanding of competencies that are needed by individuals and communities for effective preparation. Using in-depth semi-structured interviews of 30 emergency agency, local council and not-for-profit organisation staff from all Australian states, participants identified a range of community and individual features that they had seen in un-prepared and well-prepared communities and which they believed were key competencies for protective action. These competencies were then mapped against participants’ perceptions of five different levels of preparation, resulting in a Preparedness Competency Index that allows agencies to benchmark preparation in communities, as well as to recognise when lack of preparation competency leaves groups vulnerable.
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