Predictors of south-eastern Australian householders' strengths of intentions to self-evacuate if a wildfire threatens: Two theoretical models

Jim McLennan, Sean Cowlishaw, Douglas Paton, Ruth Beatson, Glenn Elliott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Householder evacuation in the face of a wildfire threat is the survival option advocated by fire agencies. However, late evacuation is common and has resulted in loss of life. The primary aim of this study was to investigate potential predictors of householders’ strength of intention to leave early in response to a bushfire threat warning. A survey of 584 residents of bushfire-prone locations in south-eastern Australia was conducted. Theory of planned behaviour (TPB) and protection motivation theory (PMT) were used to explore predictors of strength of householders’ intentions to leave, or to stay and defend following a bushfire warning. TPB was a useful predictor of strength of intention to leave, but PMT was not such a useful predictor of strength of intention to leave. Householder efficacy and self-characterisation were important contributors, whereas perceptions of severity and susceptibility to threat were not found to be significant contributors. Neither model performed well in predicting strength of intention to stay and defend. The findings are discussed in relation to community wildfire safety research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1176-1188
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Volume23
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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