The GAD Pod is undertaking a project that seeks to increase the number of households with a written fire plan in rural and peri-urban areas where bushfire is an ongoing threat. The need for this emerged from our Long-term Disaster Resilience research, launched in February 2019. This research indicates that for most people, there is no getting over experience of disasters. Prevention of involvement or loss of life in disasters - by following advice to 'Leave and Live' - will save lives, and will prevent life-long physical and mental health impacts for survivors. The benefits of such fire planning flow to individuals, to families, first responders, health and government professionals in the reconstruction stage, and to entire communities. Conflict between couples frequently prevents fire planning discussions.

The GAD Pod will provide evidence-based resources (a set of two postcards: ‘Fire planning with a gendered lens) to assist community organisations including shires, councils and CFA Brigades to encourage women and men to discuss their roles in a potential fire, and the impacts disasters can have. It aims to create greater awareness of gendered expectations in disaster. Gendered expectations (of men to protect and provide, and women to sacrifice and nurture) are central to decisions made in the height of a disaster. Raising awareness of the risks involved in such decisions will contribute to community resilience.

Complementing this, community organisations will include the ‘Disaster is no excuse for family violence’ postcard in their dissemination. Our research, ‘The Way He Tells It’ was the first Australian research to investigate family violence after disasters. It found that, not only does family violence increase after disaster, but that women are silenced. The research found that women’s right to live free from violence is conditional upon the level of suffering men face.  Increased family violence in disasters can be prevented or reduced if community members and health professionals are aware of this likelihood and know how to respond constructively.

If your Organisation or CFA Brigade is interested in hearing more about the project, please email Jaspreet Kaur at jaspreetk@whin.org.au