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Aside from these legislated safety precautions, more than half the homes across all the surveyed jurisdictions had a portable first aid kit and around one-third had a household member with a current first aid qualification.
A written or rehearsed emergency plan was the least common safety precaution implemented by households in Vic. (15%), ACT (15%) and NSW (13%). In Qld the two least implemented precautions were fire blankets (19%) and a written or rehearsed emergency plan (20%).
For NSW a greater proportion of households in balance of state NSW had taken non-legislated safety precautions compared to households within Sydney. In Qld there was no significant difference between balance of state Qld and Brisbane in most implemented non-legislated safety precautions. The exception for Qld was written or rehearsed emergency plans, where in balance of state Qld 22% of households had an emergency plan compared to 17% of households in Brisbane.
In NSW and Vic. the biggest difference was in the proportion of homes with a portable first aid kit. While in both Melbourne and Sydney 54% of homes had a portable first aid kit, the balance of state for both jurisdictions reported higher proportions of homes with a portable first aid kit NSW (63%) and Vic. (60%).
In Qld, Vic. and NSW couple with children households were more likely than other household types to have a household member with a first aid qualification (Qld 53%, Vic. 43%, NSW 45%). These households were around 3 times more likely than lone person households to have a first aid qualification (16% in Qld, 15% in both NSW and Vic.)
In Qld and Vic. portable first aid kits were most commonly found in couple with children households (74% and 66% respectively). In NSW couple with children households (66%) and couple households (64%) were the household types most likely to have portable first aid kits.
Home ownership increased the likelihood of a household having the safety precautions to put out house fires, compared to homes that were rented. In particular, households who owned or were paying off their home were approximately twice as likely to have fire blankets and fire extinguishers compared to households who rented. This was evident in all of the jurisdictions surveyed.
ACCESS TO EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS
Household members' easy access to appropriate emergency phone numbers can be crucial to fast contact with emergency services when they are required. Approximately one-third of all households in the surveyed jurisdictions, did not keep emergency phone numbers in a location for ease of use (Qld 39%, ACT 38%, NSW 36% and Vic. 30%).
The most common locations to keep emergency phone numbers for all jurisdictions, was either on the fridge or near the phone. Vic. had the highest proportion of households with emergency phone numbers located on the fridge (34%), followed by ACT (29%), NSW (28%) and Qld (24%).
EMERGENCY PLANS AND SELECTED HOUSEHOLD CHARACTERISTICS
An indicator of preparedness for emergencies is whether households have an emergency plan. Of the households with a perceived risk of bushfire, a majority of the surveyed jurisdictions, except Vic., did not have an emergency plan. In Vic. 54% of households who perceived themselves at risk of bushfire had an emergency plan (compared to 41% in both NSW and Qld and 35% in the ACT).
In each of the surveyed jurisdictions, approximately one-fifth of all households had at least one household member who would have difficulties evacuating without help in an emergency. This however did not increase the likelihood of those households having an emergency plan. Across all jurisdictions over 60% of households had a household member who would have difficulties evacuating did not have an emergency plan.
Households with one or more household members who volunteered in the emergency services were more likely to have an emergency plan than households with no volunteer household members. At the state and territory level, this was most evident in ACT and Vic. where 58% and 57%, respectively, of volunteer households had an emergency plan, compared to 30% and 28%, respectively, of non-volunteer households.
The ACT had the highest percentage of households (18%) who had experienced an emergency, in the two years prior to October 2007. This was followed by NSW (12%), Qld (10%) and Vic. (8%).
The most common type of emergency experienced in all jurisdictions surveyed was storm, wind or hail. Twelve percent of ACT households had experienced an emergency due to storm, wind or hail, compared to 7% of NSW households, 6% of Qld households and 3% of Vic. households.
Of the households who reported experiencing a recent emergency, approximately a quarter contacted emergency services in Vic. (24%), followed by NSW (21%), ACT (17%) and Qld (15%). The most commonly contacted emergency services were the Fire Service and the State Emergency Service.
Approximately half of Qld, NSW and Vic households who experienced emergencies implemented changes for better preparedness, compared to over a third of households who experienced an emergency in the ACT (37%) and made changes. These changes include installing and regularly testing smoke alarms, implementing an emergency plan and putting emergency phone numbers in an easily accessible place.
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