Areas most affected by floods and fires aren’t just those most susceptible to it—vulnerability and preparedness of areas is also vital to consider when locating and assisting high-risk areas. Finding the preparedness of different communities, however, is currently difficult for many areas throughout Greater Brisbane. Our proposed application provides a system for finding the most susceptible communities, and indicating the preparedness of these communities.
Primarily targeted towards council members to provide the most effective assistance to communities which require it, the application allows the most vulnerable and susceptible communities to be identified, also displaying the type of help they require to better prepare for natural hazards. Members of the community can also make use of the application, to find the preparedness of their community, finding ways to personally improve their community’s hazard preparations and connections, providing positive social developments within their community.
In the application, users can search for suburbs and areas within Brisbane, to find the flood and fire risk of the area, as well as the level of preparedness for the community, provided as a percentage. To find specific focus areas, the preparedness is displayed as both an overall percentage, and as different subcategories, including the percentage of people with adequate insurance, personal confidence, trust in emergency services and more. This would allow users to know which focus area requires the most development and assistance within a community.
Users can also sort by risk level, as well as level of preparedness, to determine which communities are most at risk or least prepared (including ability to sort by each focus area), to find areas which require support. This would be ideal for Brisbane City Council members, to know where to target for council assistance (financial, educational, emergency service development), as well as insurance advertising and preparedness campaigns.
According to the Queensland Government, Queensland Reconstruction Authority Deloitte Report, its estimated more than 500,000 people were affected by the most recent floods in Brisbane in some way or another (2021-2022 Floods), and the estimated cost of damages was $4.5 billion. The Brisbane City Council estimates the floods impacted 91% of Brisbane suburbs, and has subsequently enacted a Flood Resilience Action Plan, working to identify and support those who need it most after the floods. Providing predicted preparedness of communities in the Brisbane area could aid in this identification for future hazards, before they take place, with many existing surveys and publicly available data considering the preparedness of communities.
Research from the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience suggests perception of threat, levels of self-efficacy, high levels of social connectedness and trust in communities may facilitate engagement in preparatory behaviours for severe weather events. The results from their study show that perceived susceptibility to a future severe weather event, social connectedness, and self-efficacy significantly predict part of the variance in preparatory behaviour.
This suggests similar factors could be used to approximate the preparedness of communities at risk to upcoming natural hazards. Many existing surveys from various groups, like the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Community Insights Survey, and the Queensland Resilience Index from the Get Ready Queensland campaign, assess similar factors to determine the preparedness of various local communities, publishing the results to the public. Assuming the consistent upkeep of the survey data, this could be implemented in the application as an annual assessment of community preparedness, based on the individuals in the community who have answered the questions and supplemented with further related data, e.g. Census data. Hence, by compiling and analysing this data, we can summarise the preparedness of different suburbs around Brisbane -- informing the Council of suburbs' risks for an upcoming hazard.
Additionally, although primarily developed based on council needs, by visualising this data in an accessible format it also allows residents of the suburbs to better understand their overall community's risk, and how they can aid in the preparation and planning, ahead of unexpected hazards.
Percent statistics which determine a community's overall preparedness were calculated using the two survey results datasets, by firstly determining which questions would be relevant to our application. These questions were then grouped into the 'statistics', such as the community's trust in emergency services, or financial recovery ability. As most questions were yes/no questions, the percentages for each statistic would be calculated by firstly considering, for each individual question, the percentage of people in the suburb who answered the favourable answer (indicating they are 'prepared'). These percentages for each question under a certain statistic would then be averaged to calculate the overall statistic percent. For the questions with a range of answers (on a scale with 5 options), the most desirable end of the scale would be assigned '5', and these values averaged for within the suburb, and converted to a percentage (out of 100, rather than out of 5). Again, the average suburb percentages for each question under a certain statistic would be averaged, to find the overall statistic percent.
The flood (Brisbane City Council) and fire (Queensland Government) risk level datasets were also used, to allow council members (and possibly also community members) to consider the disaster risk levels of suburbs, when determining which areas require assistance. Additionally, Census data was used to present suburbs' populations, to provide council members with further information about the requirements of different areas. It can be noted that additional Census data could also be utilised, if even more information would benefit council decision-making.