4818.5 - Community Preparedness for Emergencies, Western Australia, October 2011 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/05/2012   
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Statistics presented in this release have been compiled from data collected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the State Supplementary Survey, Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011. The data were collected under the authority of the Census and Statistics Act, 1905.

For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.


State Supplementary Surveys occur on an ad hoc basis, when a need for additional statistical data has been identified. State Supplementary Surveys occur as a supplement to the October Labour Force Survey (LFS, cat. no.6202.0). Data is collected on a topic of interest to State Government agencies and is specific to individual Australian states or territories. The data required can either be new, or a repeat of a previous survey topic, to obtain updated statistical data. For 2011, the State Supplementary Survey topic for WA was Community preparedness for Emergencies. This was a repeat of a State Supplementary Survey conducted in 2007.

The survey collected information from Western Australian households about their experience in previous emergencies, emergency evacuation and existing preparations for future emergencies.

The need for information on community preparedness for emergencies has been highlighted by the recent range of natural disasters that have occurred in recent years. Such disasters include cyclones, bushfires and flooding in WA (2011), Cyclone Yasi and floods in Queensland (2011), the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria (2009), as well as the tsunami that hit Japan (2011).

Natural disasters are a feature of the Australian landscape and they can have a substantial impact on communities, infrastructure, the environment and the economy. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has agreed that there is an urgent need for re-examination of Australia's arrangements for managing natural disasters and identification of strategies for building greater community resilience.

Statistics produced by the ABS in this release have the potential to enable Western Australia to determine the extent to which further effort and resources should be directed toward community resilience building initiatives. These statistics may also be used for future comparisons with other Australian states and territories.

The following Western Australian State Government agencies are major users of this data: the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC), the WA Police, as well as the Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA).


The Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011 survey was conducted as a supplement to the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS, cat. no.6202.0), in the two weeks commencing 9 October 2011. Statistics compiled from the data are released approximately seven months after the reference period.


Data items were collected from Any Responsible Adult (ARA), on behalf of the household. Information was sought from 2,867 households; the number of full respondents for the Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011 survey was 2,705.

The Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011 survey achieved a response rate of 93.9%.

Estimates from a sampled survey may be affected by two types of error: non-sampling error and sampling error. Non-sampling errors can result from of a number of factors, including:

  • inadequacies in the collection instrument;
  • treatment of non-response
  • inaccurate reporting of data by data providers
  • errors in the application of survey procedures
  • incorrect recording of answers; and
  • errors in data capture and processing.

Every effort is made to minimise non-sampling error by careful design and testing of the collection instrument and the use of efficient operating procedures and systems. Non-sampling error also arises because information cannot be obtained from all persons selected in the survey.

Sampling error occurs because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. For further information regarding sampling and non-sampling errors, please refer to the Technical Notes.


There are no other data sources with which ABS data compiled from this survey can be directly compared. The Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011 survey is an ad hoc survey and is not part of the ongoing ABS program.

This survey topic was previously run as a State Supplementary Survey in 2007. Users are advised that there have been some changes to the data items collected across the two surveys (see Explanatory Notes 9 to 11 for details).

While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data, its relevance to the changing needs of users and the efficiency of the collection.

Extreme caution should be used when comparing: statistics from two State Supplementary Surveys; or the Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011 survey with other related publications, as different methodologies may have been used.

The ABS has conducted several other surveys on preparedness for Emergencies. These include:
As the State Supplementary Survey is collected in tandem with the LFS, some changes to the LFS, for example modifications to the sampling method, may also impact on the State Supplementary Surveys. For a full list of changes made to the Labour Force Survey see Chapter 20 in Labour Statistics: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 6102.0.55.001).

For other related publications please refer to the Related Publications section of the Explanatory Notes.


The Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011 survey collected information on whether or not households had taken specific steps to prepare for emergency events.

A major emergency refers to an event that threatens or damages the dwelling or threatens or harms occupants of the dwelling. Principal categories include bush fires, floods, earthquakes, cyclones and other hazardous events.

Data items were collected from Any Responsible Adult (ARA), on behalf of the household. The ABS makes every effort to ensure correct and consistent interpretation of question wording, and applies consistent processing methodologies.

The Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011 survey is an ad hoc survey. Therefore, time series are not available and consequently, estimates are only available as original series and are not seasonally or trend adjusted. Further important contextual information, to be considered when interpreting the results presented in this release, is provided in the Explanatory Notes, the Technical Note and Glossary.


Findings from the 2011 State Supplementary Survey, Community preparedness for Emergencies, WA, 2011 are available in web and PDF format. In addition to the Summary of Findings from this survey, data are also available in spreadsheet format, free of charge on the ABS website. Information in the PDF and spreadsheet format are accessible from the Downloads page of this release.

Links to other data releases relating to Western Australia can be found on the ABS website, via the Regional portal, under Topics @ a Glance.

If the information you require is not available as a standard product, inquiries can be made by contacting the National Information Referral Service on 1300 135 070.