Resilience to Hazards

Kinglake_Feb09_4.jpg

Kinglake house 2009
Kinglake house 2009

Project Status:

Disaster education for children is a key priority in reducing the impacts of natural hazards. The child-centred disaster risk reduction (CC-DRR) approach is becoming increasingly popular, but rigorous empirical research on efficacy and implementation is scarce. This project is developing a research program to chart CC-DRR progress and identify policy-practice-research gaps and challenges. Key project objectives are:

• Understanding if CC-DRR programs are effective.

• Ensuring programs are stakeholder supported and evidence-based.

• Understanding if programs produce cost-effective outcomes and are able to be scaled up sustainably at schools, at the community level and in emergency management policy.

Child-centred disaster risk reduction - project overview

Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction - project overview

Children represent the most vulnerable demographic group in disasters – it is estimated that 30-50% of fatalities are children - while they are also most vulnerable to psychosocial impacts. Early research indicates that children are a resource for reducing current disaster risks and can also mitigate future risks.

The role of children’s disaster education in managing risk has been recognised as a major priority in the federal government’s National Strategy for Disaster Resilience. Yet, despite a recent surge in child-centred disaster research, the social, psychological, economic and political mechanisms that enable children to both understand and take action to reduce disaster risk remain largely unexplored and the evidence-base for best-practice remains limited.

A promising approach to supporting children’s active engagement in disaster risk reduction is referred to as childcentred disaster risk reduction. Its aim is to strengthen children’s skills so that they understand the disaster risk in their communities and are able to take a lead role in reducing that risk. While it is becoming increasingly popular amongst government and non-government agencies and organisations around the world, rigorous empirical research on the efficacy of the approach is scarce.

This project is conducting a nationwide evaluation of programs and strategies based on a child-centred disaster risk reduction framework. It aims to develop cost-effective programs that reduce the risk and increase resilience for children, schools, households and communities.

Project Leader Prof Kevin Ronan, along with researcher Dr Briony Towers, attended the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, in 2015. A background chapter by Prof Ronan was commissioned by UNESCO and UNICEF for the Sendai Framework planning process and for the UNISDR’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015, focusing on one of the ‘core indicators’ for the UNISDR Hyogo Framework for Action - Priority for Action 3: School curricula, education material and relevant training including disaster risk reduction and recovery concepts and practices.

The project has published widely in journals including the International Journal of Disaster Risk Education, the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, the Journal of Homeland Security and the Australian Journal of Emergency Management.

Wheatbelt, WA. Photo by Briony Towers
20 March, 2017
In early March, I visited in a small school in Western Australia's Wheatbelt region to begin our evaluation of the 'Bushfire Patrol' program. The aim of this trip was to collect some initial baseline data on children's existing knowledge of, and participation in, bushfire risk reduction. What struck me on this trip was how important it is to include rural and remote students in our research. The physical and human geography of the Wheatbelt stands in stark contrast to that of Perth's rural/urban interface and this will likely have implications for the structure and content of Bushfire Patrol.
27 February, 2017
Research into how Australian children are involved in bushfire preparations around the home is being applied to disaster preparedness in the slum communities of Bangladesh.
Fire Australia cover
27 February, 2017
Firestorms, disaster resilience and fire preparation in Bangladesh are featured in the latest edition of Fire Australia magazine, with Issue One for 2017 out now.
NSW RFS Schools Programs
22 February, 2017
Primary schools students across New South Wales are now front and centre in state-wide bushfire plans, based on research that identified the importance of involving children in active bushfire preparations for the benefit of the whole community.
Lumkani - Google Impact Challenge
11 October, 2016
A CRC-related project with World Vision has been selected as a finalist in the Google Impact Challenge – and your vote can help us secure $750,000 to bring fire detection technology to the slums of Asia.
RFS personnel using the new guide at Warrimoo Public School. Photo Ben Shepherd, NSW RFS
11 October, 2016
Research from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is supporting bushfire education for primary school students in New South Wales.
14 September, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
16 August, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
An aircraft responds to a fire in Victoria. Photo by Wayne Rigg, CFA
9 August, 2016
Case studies show how to bridge the gap between research and practice using Bushfire CRC research.
Involve Your Kids! - bushfire planning ebook
1 August, 2016
‘Involve Your Kids!’ a free, downloadable bushfire education e-book for primary school-age children, was one of the early outputs of Dr Briony Tower’s research on child-centred disaster resilience education and is helping families prepare their children for bushfires.
Li'l Larikkins copyright Southern Equity PL
14 July, 2016
Child-centred disaster risk reduction research outputs have been embedded in a range of national initiatives - into the school curriculum, in safety videos, a practice framework and an ebook.
Briony's research led to an ebook to help parents talk to their kids about bushfires.
9 June, 2016
CRC research has contributed towards new and improved school education pages in WA, providing a suite of fun and engaging resources to teach children about hazards.
CRC sign
23 May, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Location of the bombing site close to important buildings.
8 February, 2016
Avianto Amri recounts his experiences of the January terror attack in Jakarta.
Kinglake house 2009
12 January, 2016
The Child-centred disaster risk reduction project has made good progress on a number of initiatives and will continue to build on these and focus on outcomes throughout 2016.
CRC researcher, Dr Kirrilly Thompson receiving her award from CQUniveristy
1 December, 2015
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researchers Dr Kirrilly Thompson and Prof Kevin Ronan have been recognised by CQUniversity for their outstanding research efforts and commitment.
Lake Mountain landscape post Black Saturday fires
15 October, 2015
What is our research about, and how will our emergency service partners benefit? Hear direct in these short videos
Kevin Ronan receives award from Richard Thornton
8 September, 2015
Prof Kevin Ronan from CQUniversity has been awarded the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award.
The Winter 2015 edition of Fire Australia magazine.
28 July, 2015
The Winter 2015 edition of Fire Australia magazine is now available.
In addition to the main conference, many exhibitions took place. Here local firefighters show children how their cherry-picker operates. Photo by Tony Jarrett.
24 July, 2015
The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC were represented in Sendai for the third United Nations (UN) World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
Rescuers clear rubble in the search for survivors in Durbar Square Kathmandu, Nepal, after the first earthquake on 25 April 2015. Photo by Think4Photop, Shutterstock.
24 July, 2015
With the tragedy that continues to play out months after Nepal’s earthquakes, there are stories of heroism. A larger story is a tale of two realities in relation to earthquakes and loss of life.
Involve Your Kids! - bushfire planning ebook
16 July, 2015
CRC science has been highlighted by the United Nations in a new publication detailing case studies on using science for disaster risk reduction.
Searching for survivors in Kathmandu. Photo by think4photop, Shutterstock
9 June, 2015
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC PhD student Avianto Amri (Risk Frontiers, Macquarie University) has been deployed to Nepal for one month to support the earthquake relief operations of Plan International.
Kat Haynes ASPIRE award
25 May, 2015
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researcher Dr Katharine Haynes has been selected as the Australian nomination for the prestigious APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education Award for 2015.
The UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan.
14 May, 2015
CRC work on disaster risk reduction features in the United Nations Integrated Research on Disaster Risk newsletter.
Tony with firefighters from the Kakunodate Fire Department.
16 April, 2015
With the prospect of being able to joining in a range of public events, the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai has been a target of mine for a while.
A lady examines before and after photos from the 2011 tsunami.
16 April, 2015
Last month I had the wonderful privilege of travelling to Sendai to present at a workshop as part of the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
The World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. Photo by Tony Jarrett
15 April, 2015
The UN’s 3rd World Disaster Risk Reduction Conference was on in Sendai, Japan in late March. Much of it is very formal, statements of intent and support, but there have been great snippets in the sessions.
Kevin Ronan presenting in Sendai
14 April, 2015
I was part of a large Australian contingent at the Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, presenting at two sessions during the week.
United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
12 March, 2015
Follow all the action from the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Fire Australia cover, summer 2015
9 February, 2015
Four CRC research projects have been profiled in the latest edition of Fire Australia.
Flooded house Victoria
9 February, 2015
This newsletter has been put together by the Communications and warnings cluster to keep end‐users informed about key work across each of the projects.
Children at bushfire stand at the Australian Science Festival
9 February, 2015
Worldwide disaster risk reduction initiatives in the lead up to the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan are featured in a UN monthly online newsletter.
Kinglake house 2009
23 January, 2015
A Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC project is examining how educating children on how to be resilient in the face of a natural disaster can flow on to mobilising an entire community.
Kevin Ronan at the UN in Geneva
11 December, 2014
I have recently represented the CRC at a series of UN meetings in London, Paris and Geneva.
22 August, 2014
I attended PrepCom1 as part of the UN Science and Technology Major Group delegation, in the lead up to the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
Children at bushfire stand at the Australian Science Festival
28 February, 2014
Enabling kids to become active participants in disaster resilience and education programs could not only reduce their fears. It could also have a potential motivational role in mobilising wider community preparations.
Year Type Citation
2017 Journal Article Westcott, R., Ronan, K., Bambrick, H. & Taylor, M. Don’t Just Do Something….Stand There! Emergency Responders’ Peri-Incident Perceptions of Animal Owners in Bushfire. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 4, (2017).
2016 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2016 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2016 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Conference Paper Ronan, K. & Towers, B. Evidence-based practice, practice-based evidence: moving towards scaled implementation in child-centred disaster risk reduction. AFAC16 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Journal Article Ronan, K. et al. Child-centered disaster risk reduction: Can disaster resilience programs reduce risk and increase the resilience of children and households?. The Australian Journal of Emergency Management 31, (2016).
2016 Journal Article Johnson, V., Ronan, K., Johnston, D. M. & Peace, R. Improving the Impact and Implementation of Disaster Education: Programs for Children Through Theory-Based Evaluation. Risk Analysis 36, 2120-2135 (2016).
2016 Journal Article Towers, B., Ronan, K. & Rashid, M. Child Health and Survival in a Changing Climate: Vulnerability, Mitigation, and Adaptation. Geographies of Children and Young People 8, (2016).
2016 Report Towers, B. et al. Disaster resilience education: A practice framework for Australian emergency management agencies. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Report Ronan, K. et al. Building best practice in child-centred disaster risk reduction: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Conference Paper Ronan, K. et al. Promoting Child Resilience to Disasters: Policy, Practice, Research Conference Paper 2014. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Wellington Conference 2014 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Handmer, J. & Towers, B. Progress made with public awareness-raising activities aimed at building both rural and urban disaster resilience. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 30, (2015).
2015 Journal Article Ronan, K., Alisic, E., Towers, B., Johnson, V. & Johnston, D. M. Disaster preparedness for children and families: A critical review. Current Psychiatry Reports 15, (2015).
2015 Journal Article Ronan, K. Progress made with school curricula, education material and relevant training in disaster risk reduction and recovery concepts and practices. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 30, (2015).
2015 Journal Article Ronan, K., Alisic, E., Towers, B., Johnson, V. & Johnston, D. M. Disaster Preparedness for Children and Families: a Critical Review. Current Psychiatry Reports 17, (2015).
2015 Journal Article Towers, B. Children’s knowledge of bushfire emergency response. International Journal of Wildland Fire (2015). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF13153
2015 Report Ronan, K. & Towers, B. Child-Centred Disaster Risk Reduction Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2015 Report Ronan, K. et al. Building best practice in child-centred disaster risk reduction: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2014 Journal Article Johnson, V., Ronan, K., Johnston, D. M. & Peace, R. Evaluations of disaster education programs for children: a methodological review. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 9, 107-123 (2014).
2014 Journal Article Johnston, D. M., Standring, S. & Ronan, K. Children's understanding of natural hazards in Christchurch: reflecting on a 2003 study. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 29, 66 (2014).
2014 Journal Article Johnson, V., Johnston, D. M., Peace, R. & Ronan, K. Evaluating Children’s Learning of Adaptive Response Capacities from ShakeOut, an Earthquake and Tsunami Drill in Two Washington State School Districts. Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management 11, 347-373 (2014).
2014 Journal Article Johnson, V. & Ronan, K. Classroom responses of New Zealand school teachers following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. Natural Hazards 72, 1075-1092 (2014).
2014 Journal Article Johnson, V., Johnston, D. M., Peace, R. & Ronan, K. Implementing Disaster Preparedness education in New Zealand primary schools. Disaster Prevention and Management 23, 370-380 (2014).
The role of children in disasters: A program of research
25 Aug 2014

Children represent the most vulnerable demographic group in disasters.  

Key Topics:
A cross cultural investigation of child-centred disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Indonesia and Australia
25 Aug 2014

There remains an assumption that children and young people are passive victims with no role to play in communicating risks or participating in risk reduction strategies. 

Key Topics:
An Evidence-Based Practice Framework for Children's Disaster Education
18 Aug 2015

Disaster education for children has been identified as a key stragety for increasing disaster resilience. In Australia, comprehensive, evidence-based guidance for the development and implementation of quality education programmes is lacking. This framework, underpinned by current research in the field, aims to provide emergency service agencies and other stakeholders with a good practice approach to developing education programmes that foster children's capacities for building resilience.

Children and Youth in Disasters: A Co-Produced Program of Research
18 Aug 2015

Children represent the most vulnerable demographic group in disasters.  The world health organisation estimates that 30-50% of disaster fatalities are children.  They are also most vulnerable to psychosocial impacts.  However, preliminary research and the new Sendai Framework also identifies them as community “drivers” of change for reducing current and future disaster risks and increasing community resilience.

Kevin Ronan Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

The national strategy for disaster resilience recognises disaster resilience education (DRE) as a priority.

Key Topics:
Ilona McNeill Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

Children form a vulnerable demographic in both the response and recovery phases of natural disasters

Key Topics:
Child-centred disaster risk reduction: a holistic, rights-based conceptual framework
12 Aug 2016

Child-centred disaster risk reduction (CC-DRR) is a flexible, rights-based, innovative approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR) combining child-focused (for the children) and child-led (by the children) activities involving children, families, communities, non governmental organisations, emergency management agencies and governments (UNICEF, 2014; PLANUK, 2010; Save the Children, 2007).

Key Topics:

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