disaster preparation

Ready? Sentimental? Which disaster preparation type are you?

When disaster strikes, the future becomes foggy. You lock the door to your home, not knowing when you’ll return, or if mother nature will take it by storm. You slam the shutters to your store, wondering if it’ll still be there in one peace when the fire dies down.

Disasters often disrupt our lives in every sense, and Australia knows this far too well. Disasters and emergencies continue to cumulate, with bushfires, flash flooding and the COVID-19 pandemic. Although you might find it uncomfortable to anticipate these events, ignoring their existence can make the repercussions even more disruptive, while effective preparation can provide life-saving benefits.

We all prepare for disasters differently, but new research shows there are four types of disaster preppers – and the distinction matters.

Research background

To better understand the link between preparedness actions and enhanced recovery, the Australian Red Cross dived deep into the preparedness and recovery of Aussies when it comes to disasters.

Australian Red Cross developed a survey with questions that focused on preparedness actions people had undertaken before a disaster, their experience of a disaster event and their experiences of recovery. The analysis of the survey responses relied on descriptive statistics, and factor and cluster analyses.

By examining the experiences of 165 people who lived through a disaster such as fire and flood between 2008 and 2019, four types of persona emerged in terms of preparing for a disaster.

By examining the hard-won lessons of those who’ve lived through the worst life can throw at us, the research hopes to help individuals and communities better prepare and recover from these events.

Three ways to prepare for disaster

An analysis performed revealed that there are three distinct groups of actions people took to get prepared for disaster. Take a look below and see if there’s one that you resonate more with:

1. Protect my personal matters:

  • Develop strategies to manage stress levels
  • Protect or back up items of sentimental value
  • Make copies and protect important documents such as identification papers, wills, financial documents
  • Make plans for the reunification of family if separated during an emergency

2. Build my readiness:

  • Identify sources of information to help prepare and respond for an emergency (e.g., an official emergency services app)
  • Find out what hazards might affect your home, place of work or community and plan for them
  • Used preparedness materials (e.g., RediPlan, bushfire survival plans)

3. Be pragmatic:

  • Make a plan for pets/livestock/animals
  • Swap phone numbers with neighbours
  • Take out property insurance

The 4 types of disaster preppers

So, which kind of disaster prepper are you?

Among those who got prepared, four groups of personas emerged: the ‘Ready’, the ‘Sentimental’, the ‘Planner’ and the ‘Unsure’.

The Ready are those who do things well overall in terms of protecting what matters most, understanding their risks and capacities and taking pragmatic actions. During the disaster, they were impacted almost as much as other groups. Yet, they reported the lowest impact post-disaster and reported the fastest recovery. They represent the largest group of the sample (40%).

The Sentimental are more emotionally driven. They exceed the score of any other group in terms of protecting what matters most. They do well in terms of understanding their risks and capacities but have the lowest score in ‘Be pragmatic’. They reported the second fastest recovery of the respondents (45% after 1 month). They represent the smallest group of the sample (12%).

The Planner is more concerned with developing a solid understanding of their risks and capacities rather than taking action. They take longer to recover (36% between 3 and 24 months) with over 18% who had not recovered yet. They represent 24% of the sample.

The Unsure score poorly on all factors, especially understanding of their risks and capacities; 41% took between 1 and 5 years to recover. Similar to the Planner, over 18% had not recovered yet. The Unsure represent 24% of the sample.

Have a look at the graphic below — is there a type you identify with the most?

How to improve your disaster preparedness

We know that the level of disaster preparedness is traditionally low among Aussies, and this study solidified the importance of change. The research shows that being prepared can help reduce the long-term impacts of a disaster, and so it’s important to demonstrate the benefits to ensure more people prepare for emergencies.

Based on your own profile, you can identify the areas that you specifically need support in. If you resonate with the sentimental persona, then a great way to improve your preparedness might be to take a more practical approach to planning, making detailed plans and obtaining insurance to help the recovery process.  If you’re more the planner type, you might want to improve your preparedness by creating backup copies of your important documents, ensuring these are accessible should disaster strike.

As expected, the more you do to prepare, the more you’ll feel prepared. This reduces stress levels which improves self-reported recovery outcomes. By identifying your weaknesses and working on them now, you can protect yourself, your home, and your community tomorrow.

We can help you with disaster preparation

At Managed Insurance Solutions, we work closely with clients to help you prepare for the unexpected. We’re experts in risk management and provide tailored insurance solutions that you can count on when you need it most.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you prepare.