4818.0.55.001 - Household Preparedness for Emergencies: NSW, Vic., Qld and ACT, Oct 2007 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/06/2008  First Issue
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Bushfire area

An area that can support a bushfire or is likely to be subject to bushfire. Such areas generally consist of, or are close to, bushfire hazards such as forests or grasslands. For example in New South Wales, Local Councils have identified areas classed as bushfire prone areas in collaboration with the Rural Fire Service.

Circuit breaker

A device designed for stopping the flow of an electric current in a circuit. Circuit breakers are used as a safety measure, as they cut the current before the wiring can overheat and cause a fire.

Excludes electrical safety switches and surge protectors.


A suite of rooms contained within a building which are self-contained and intended for long term residential use. To be self-contained the suite of rooms must possess cooking and bathing facilities as building fixtures. Non-private dwellings, for example hotels and hospitals, are not within the scope of this survey. Unoccupied private dwellings are not included.

Electrical safety switches

A device which monitors electric current and can disconnect the power instantly if necessary to protect household members from electric shock. There are three basic types of safety switch:

Switchboard safety switches offer comprehensive protection by monitoring the electrical circuits that feed power points and/or lights in the home.

Power point safety switches, when connected at the start of a circuit, provide protection for all other succeeding power outlets in that particular circuit.

Portable safety switches can be purchased for appliances and extension cords and are convenient to use where permanent safety switch protection is not available.


For the purpose of this survey, an emergency is an actual or imminent occurrence (such as fire, flood, storm, earthquake, explosion, terrorist act, industrial accident, epidemic or warlike action) which:

endangers, or threatens to endanger, the safety or health of persons or animals; and/or

destroys or damages, or threatens to destroy or damage property; and/or

requires a significant and coordinated response.

Emergencies of a purely medical nature (including injuries that occurred at the dwelling such as those resulting from pool accidents or mishaps whilst undertaking home maintenance), and crimes which do not threaten the physical dwelling or surroundings, are excluded.

Emergency phone numbers located for ease of use

Emergency phone numbers that are displayed/stored separately and are easily accessible in an emergency. This excludes looking up emergency numbers in the White or Yellow pages phone books or relying solely on dialling 000.


Emergency service numbers (such as local police, hospital, poisons information, SES, electricity, gas or water authorities and information hotlines such as NSW RTA Road Closures). In a small number of cases this can include 000 (landline) or 112 (mobile phone) where the respondent has described household members' explicit intent to display or store the number separately as might be case for new residents of Australia who may be unfamiliar with the 000 emergency number.


Phone numbers of next of kin or other household members written down in case of emergency.

Emergency plan

A scheme of assigned responsibilities, actions and procedures required in the event of an emergency.

First aid qualification

A first aid qualification refers to a qualification obtained from any accredited first aid provider, such as St John Ambulance, the Australian Red Cross, etc. It includes those qualifications obtained for work purposes (e.g. to meet requirements for First Aid Officer), and also qualified medical doctors and nurses.

Fire blanket

A fire blanket is a blanket made of non-combustible material which cuts off a fire's supply of oxygen, smothering it either permanently until more effective fire-fighting equipment can be employed. It is used to fight stove top fires (fat and cooking oil fires) and clothing fires. It is used mainly in the kitchen, in caravans or on boats.

Fire extinguisher

An appliance containing an agent (extinguishant) which can be discharged to control fire. Includes fixed or portable extinguishers. A portable fire extinguisher is designed to be carried and operated by hand.


The overflowing by water of the normal confines of a stream or other body of water, or the accumulation of water by drainage over areas which are not normally submerged.

Excludes flooding from household mishaps (e.g. an overflowing bath) or from broken water mains or other pipes


A suite of rooms contained within a building which are self-contained and intended for long term residential use. To be self-contained the suite of rooms must possess cooking and bathing facilities as building fixtures. This includes any unattached garages, sheds or other structures on the property that the household uses and/or owns.


A household is defined as one or more persons, at least one of whom is 15 years and over, usually resident in the same private dwelling.

In most cases, all occupants of a dwelling form a household and contribute to one survey form. Analysis of Labour Force Survey data has shown the incidence of multiple household dwellings to be less than 1%.

Perceived risk

Risk that is thought to exist by an individual or group of individuals. Respondents' answers as to whether they perceive a risk of bushfire or flooding where they live is purely subjective, and not cross-checked to any official measure of these risks in the area.

Portable first aid kit

An easily carried collection of supplies and equipment for use in giving treatment, in case of emergency, to persons suffering an accident or injury.

Excludes first aid kits kept in cars, boats or caravans (except where the caravan is the selected dwelling in which the household lives), and first aid supplies which are not in a kit form.

Smoke alarm/smoke detector

A smoke alarm is a safety device designed to detect smoke and emit a loud and distinctive sound to alert occupants of potential danger, and if installed in the correct location, it increases the time available for safe escape.

A smoke detector is a safety device generally used in commercial premises to detect smoke but does not have an audible alarm function.

For the purpose of this survey, the terms 'smoke alarm' and 'smoke detector' are used together and interchangeably.

Surge protector

A device that safeguards electrical appliances from voltage spikes by regulating, blocking, or shorting to ground the voltage supplied. These voltage surges often occur during lightning strikes. Surge protectors protect appliances, whereas safety switches protect household members.


For the purpose of this survey, a volunteer is a person who engages or prepares to engage, in an emergency operation, rescue, or other approved activity on an unpaid basis, irrespective of their role, at the request (either direct or indirect) or with the express or implied consent of the chief executive (however designated), or a person acting with the authority of the chief executive, of an agency, to which the state or territory emergency or rescue management arrangements apply.

Excludes persons volunteering for any other type of organisation (e.g. RSPCA, WIRES and other animal rescue organisations), or performing paid work for emergency, safety or rescue organisations.