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Child disaster resilience in action: Post-bushfire qualitative perspectives on a school-based preparedness program

journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-24, 05:13 authored by EA Newnham, PL Dzidic, Leanne KellyLeanne Kelly
We aimed to explore the acceptability of delivering a child-focused disaster preparedness program in primary schools in a high disaster-risk area and assess community perspectives of young people's application of preparedness skills during a large-scale bushfire in Australia. Fifteen adult community members participated in individual key-informant interviews online and in-person. Interviews were conducted one year following a major bushfire event in the community. Reflexive thematic analysis was conducted to determine community perceptions of the preparedness program's acceptability, applicability and impact. Findings indicated that parents and school staff valued the age-appropriate content and delivery of the preparedness program and viewed it as highly relevant, engaging and applicable for primary school children. Many reported that the program supported child-led decision making in evacuation preparedness, heightened a sense of agency, and enhanced social connectedness. Interviewees described multiple instances of children who had completed the preparedness program later enacting the key response strategies during bushfires. The findings complement calls for child preparedness education and highlight the long-term positive impacts of engaging children in disaster resilience. Accordingly, disaster risk reduction measures should incorporate child-focused strategies to foster whole-of-community resilience in high-risk areas.

History

Journal

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

Volume

96

Article number

103925

Pagination

1-10

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

2212-4209

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Publisher

Elsevier