Building community resilience to bushfire health impacts: Evaluation of an online pilot short course in Tasmania, Australia

Poster


Campbell, Sharon, Brady, James, Anderson, Carina, Ziou, Myriam, Sinclair, Duncan, Norris, Kimberley, Johnston, Fay and Jones, Penelope. 2023. "Building community resilience to bushfire health impacts: Evaluation of an online pilot short course in Tasmania, Australia." Australian Disaster Resilience Conference 2023. Brisbane 23 - 24 Aug 2023
Paper/Presentation Title

Building community resilience to bushfire health impacts: Evaluation of an online pilot short course in Tasmania, Australia

Presentation TypePoster
AuthorsCampbell, Sharon, Brady, James, Anderson, Carina, Ziou, Myriam, Sinclair, Duncan, Norris, Kimberley, Johnston, Fay and Jones, Penelope
Year2023
Web Address (URL) of Conference Proceedingshttps://www.aidr.org.au/resources/adrc-2023-program/
Conference/EventAustralian Disaster Resilience Conference 2023
Event Details
Australian Disaster Resilience Conference 2023
Delivery
Online
Event Date
23 to end of 24 Aug 2023
Event Location
Brisbane
Event Venue
Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre
Abstract

Bushfires and bushfire smoke pose substantial risks to physical and mental health across exposed populations. These risks increase as the frequency, intensity and duration of bushfires rise with anthropogenic climate change. Few interventions exist which increase community-level knowledge and response capacity, which may promote exposure reduction and health protection. We developed a pilot online short course, ‘Bushfires and Your Health’, targeting older adults as a group with increased risk of poor health outcomes related to exposure. We evaluated the course across key criteria, including participant understanding and satisfaction with the course, the course’s ability to increase bushfire knowledge and response capacity, and risk mitigating post-course actions. A post-course participant survey measured course satisfaction and participant understanding. Pre-post survey data was analysed using linear regression to assess the likelihood that course completion, but not non-completion or non-enrolment, would increase bushfire knowledge and capacity. Discussion board submissions and post-course surveys were analysed for evidence of course-related behaviour change. Thirty-two per cent of enrolled participants (n=134) completed the feedback survey. Overall, regression of bushfire knowledge was significant (R2adj=.015,F(1.84, 372)=2.92,p=.034). The model showed course completion significantly predicted increased bushfire knowledge (β=.06, p<.01, CI95%[0.16,1.04]). Course non-completion and non-enrolment did not significantly predict bushfire knowledge. Regression of perceived bushfire capability was non-significant. However, participants reported very high rates of course satisfaction (94%) and understanding (93%), while 94% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that knowledge from the course would help them protect their physical and mental health in a bushfire. Actions taken by participants included property and garden preparation for the bushfire season, making bushfire survival plans, changing decisions around ‘stay or go’ considering individual capacity, and downloading and using the AirRater air quality app. An online short course has potential to increase participant knowledge and proactive preparedness actions in dealing with bushfires and bushfire smoke.

Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420603. Health promotion
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Tasmania
Department of Health, Tasmania
University of Southern Queensland
No affiliation
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