Community education on the health impacts of bushfires: Evaluation of an online pilot short course in Tasmania, Australia.

Article


Campbell, Sharon L., Brady, James J.R., Anderson, Carina C., Ziou, Myriam, Sinclair, Duncan, Johnston, Fay H. and Jones, Penelope J.. 2024. "Community education on the health impacts of bushfires: Evaluation of an online pilot short course in Tasmania, Australia." International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 101 (2024), pp. 2212-4209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2023.104227
Article Title

Community education on the health impacts of bushfires: Evaluation of an online pilot short course in Tasmania, Australia.

ERA Journal ID200723
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsCampbell, Sharon L., Brady, James J.R., Anderson, Carina C., Ziou, Myriam, Sinclair, Duncan, Johnston, Fay H. and Jones, Penelope J.
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Journal Citation101 (2024), pp. 2212-4209
Article Number104227
Number of Pages15
Year2024
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationNetherlands
ISSN2212-4209
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2023.104227
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420923007070
Abstract

Bushfires and smoke pose substantial risks to physical and mental health across exposed populations. Enhanced community-level knowledge and response capability may promote exposure reduction and therefore protect health, however few interventions exist to achieve this goal. We developed an online short course, ‘Bushfires and Your Health’, and piloted it with older adults as a vulnerable group. We evaluated course satisfaction, factors associated with course enrolment and
completion, the likelihood of increased bushfire knowledge and response capability, and the likelihood of participants undertaking risk-mitigating or health-promoting actions. We (i) used a prepost-course survey in the intervention group and a control group (who did not undertake the course); (ii) gathered data from the intervention group via a post-course feedback survey; and (iii) analysed participant discussion board submissions for evidence of course-related behaviour change. Compared to the control group, course enrolment was significantly positively associated with several demographic characteristics, including being retired (OR = 1.32, 95 % CI [1.02–1.71]), living in proximity to bushland (OR = 1.58, 95 % CI[1.23–2.04]) and having an existing bushfire survival plan (OR = 1.34, 95 % CI[1.05–1.70]), and significantly inversely associated with being employed (OR = 0.76, 95 % CI[0.59–0.97]) and having poor bushfire knowledge (OR = 0.78, 95 % CI[0.61–0.99]). Compared to the control group, course completion was significantly associated with increased bushfire knowledge, while enrolment and completion were significantly associated with participants undertaking new actions, including downloading and using an air quality app, developing a bushfire survival plan and making household preparations. An online short course has potential to increase knowledge and preparedness actions when managing bushfires and bushfire smoke.

KeywordsBushfire, Wildfire, Air quality, Health, Resilience, Online education
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420699. Public health not elsewhere classified
3999. Other Education
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Tasmania
Department of Health, Tasmania
School of Nursing and Midwifery
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