Nearly 85% of Australians are concerned about bushfire threat – QBE

New survey highlights people's lack of preparation

Nearly 85% of Australians are concerned about bushfire threat – QBE

Catastrophe & Flood

By Roxanne Libatique

As Australia faces more frequent and extreme weather events annually, 84.1% of Australians have become concerned about the El Niño bushfire threat, according to QBE Insurance Group's (QBE) latest survey.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) recently confirmed an El Niño weather event ahead, with bushfires expected to play a major role in the summer of 2023-24.

In August 2023, QBE surveyed 1,000 Australians about the threats of extreme weather events, including bushfires, and how they prepare for natural disasters.

Among the respondents, 60% confirmed that they either had, or knew someone who had, their property (excluding vehicles) damaged by weather events. Focusing on El Niño, 81.3% said they have heard about Niño and how it could affect the weather. Meanwhile, 84.2% were concerned about the increased likelihood of bushfires.

Natural disaster preparation

Being prepared for natural disasters is crucial. However, QBE's survey found that 51.1% of the respondents did not know their home's bushfire attack level (BAL), and a further 13.5% did not know what BAL is.

Among the respondents, only 6.4% had a bushfire evacuation plan, with 8.1% having updated their bushfire evacuation plan in the last year. Of those without a plan, 34.2% claimed they did not need one, while 17.3% did not know what to put in it.

Tips to prepare for bushfire season

The insurance industry has been reminding Australians to prepare for bushfires to reduce risk and safeguard their homes and property.

QBE advised Australians to prepare for bushfire season by:

  • clearing gutters, chimneys, and surrounding areas for natural debris;
  • getting rid of flammable;
  • cutting back low-hanging trees within 10 metres of the home;
  • keeping grass short;
  • reviewing insurance; and
  • creating a bushfire evacuation plan.

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