1367.5 - Western Australian Statistical Indicators, Sep 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/10/2008   
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October 8, 2008

Embargoed 11.30 am (AEST)

Fires and storms still WA's most common emergencies: ABS

Bushfires, cyclones, storms and flooding are Western Australia's most common major emergencies, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The report also found that less than half of WA's households had an exit plan in an emergency evacuation, and only about one in ten households had an agreed meeting place.

However nearly all (90%) households had mobile phones, similar to the proportion with landline phones. The proportions were lower for other communications systems; only two-thirds (68%) had an internet connection and just over half (52%) had a portable radio with working batteries.

People who were renting were less likely to have either a radio or a landline phone.

Access to the internet varied according to people's circumstances; people living alone and households with people over the age of 60 both had lower rates of internet connection, at 42% and 45% respectively.

Around 5% of Perth households have experienced a major emergency, but this rate was double (10%) in the eastern hills area of Perth, which is subject to bushfires.

These East Metropolitan households were more likely to have an exit plan and an agreed meeting place. A similar pattern was found in non-metropolitan regions where there was even more familiarity with emergencies.

Just over half of all WA households (53%) indicated they would need assistance to evacuate family pets. This was higher for house owners (57%) and families with children (68%). Households with children under 15 had the greatest need for assistance.

More information on Preparedness for Emergencies and Household Assistance Required can be found in Western Australian Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5), available for free download from the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>.