A Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC project (IRDR National Committee in Australia) is examining how educating children on how to be resilient in the face of a natural disaster can flow on to mobilising an entire community.
Enabling kids to become active participants in disaster resilience and education programs could not only reduce their fears, it could also have a potential motivational role in mobilising wider community preparations. That’s according to Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC project leader Kevin Ronan, a Professoriate Research Fellow at CQ University.
Research published over the past decade has shown that children are better equipped to deal with an emergency if they have been active participants in disaster resilience and education programs. “This study is designed to evaluate the extent that education can equip children and families to prepare, respond and recover more effectively from some unanticipated event, including its potential flow-on effects for the larger community,” Professor Ronan said.
Professor Ronan is leading the building best practice in child-centred disaster risk reduction study, which also involves researchers from RMIT, Monash and Massey universities, Risk Frontiers and Save the Children Australia. The project will carry out research on current policy, practices and evaluation frameworks. In building on research conducted in Australia, New Zealand and other countries, the research will also increase the attention given to children and their families’ needs in disasters.
The project is also linked to initiatives at the United Nations (UN), with the CRC as the Australian coordinator for the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR) National Committee. Professor Ronan represented the CRC at Integrated Research on Disaster Risk meetings in November 2014 in London and Paris and at UN headquarters in Geneva. The meetings were part of the planning process for the next Hyogo Framework for Action, which will be announced at the third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan in March this year.