Australians failing to prepare for emergencies, despite increasing risk

Red Cross

Australian Red Cross Emergency Services going through sentimental items_Get Prepared

  • 58% of Australians expect to be impacted by heatwaves in the coming 12 months, this number is more than double 5 years ago (25%).
  • 34% of Australians are worried about being impacted by bushfires compared to 26% five years ago.
  • 43% of Australians are concerned about the impact of floods and heavy rain over the next 12 months compared to 29% in 2018.
  • 38% of Australians expect to be impacted by major power outages (lasting 4 hours or longer) versus 26% five years ago.

Australian Red Cross is calling for all Australians to get prepared this Emergency Ready Week after new data shows despite a growing concern for of disasters and emergencies, only 10 per cent of people are taking steps to actively get ready.

Independent research conducted on behalf of Australian Red Cross surveyed adults living across Australia and found respondents are bracing for an increase in natural disasters and emergencies.

Australian Red Cross Chief of Staff Penny Harrison said the data shows a growing sentiment that ‘anything could happen’ with heightened expectations over the last five years relating to heatwaves, floods, bushfires, power outages and cyclones.

“People living in Australia are clearly thinking about what may lie ahead, with one in three worried about heatwaves, bushfires and nearly one in two expecting floods and heavy rain over the next 12 months, however that concern is not translating into active preparation,” Ms Harrison said.

“We know the better prepared you are, the better your capacity to respond and recover from any emergency. Just thinking about it is not enough.”

Ms Harrison pointed to the strong correlation between emotional impact from an emergency and levels of preparation, with those reporting severe impacts from being ill-prepared.

“The impacts of emergencies extend beyond the physical, to people’s psychological and emotional wellbeing, with the survey revealing 81 per cent of respondents agree that being psychologically prepared is just as vital as practical readiness when facing an emergency.

“The research combined with our extensive experience in emergency preparedness, response, recovery provides evidence that the more prepared a person is before disaster strikes, the better their resilience and the lower the post-disaster emotional impact experienced,” she said.

Each year, Australian Red Cross launches Emergency Ready Week to remind communities of the importance of getting prepared. With the aim of encourage as many people as possible, irrespective of where they live, to download the Get Prepared app and start the steps today or review and refresh preexisting plans.

“There are a number of things we can all do to take control of our own wellbeing and preparedness and these steps can make all the difference to our ability to respond and subsequently recover,” Ms Harrison said.

“The Get Prepared App uses the Australian Red Cross RediPlan, an internationally recognised disaster preparedness guide, and provides an easy-to-follow set of actions to help individuals, households and communities plan for emergencies including both practical and psychological preparations.

“The stress of a situation can affect decision making and reasoning so it’s important to have thought through your response – how you, your family and community may think, feel and act if an event occurs. I encourage everyone to download the app or jump on our website and start making a plan.”

Get prepared this month by downloading the free Get Prepared App from Apple store or Google Play or by making an emergency plan using RediPlan available at

About the research

The research was conducted by Mevcorp Research in July 2023 via a 5-10 minute online survey among a representative sample of 1000 Australians 18+. Mevcorp has been tracking insight into how prepared different types of Australians are for disasters and emergencies and what, if any steps are being taken in preparation since 2014.

  • Oceania Luxury Travel Co Luxury Travel Australia Banner 728x90 1