THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall Email abox­hall@big­pond.com

WHEN re­lo­cat­ing peo­ple to safety in fire or flood sit­u­a­tions, emer­gency ser­vice work­ers are find­ing peo­ple who refuse to leave with­out their pets.

The grow­ing need to con­sider an­i­mals and their own­ers in all stages of dis­as­ter man­age­ment is be­ing stud­ied by Dr Me­lanie Tay­lor and Dr Penny Burns, from the Univer­sity of West­ern Syd­ney’s School of Medicine.

The study seeks pet own­ers’ views on how they might pre­pare and re­spond in floods, bush­fires, cy­clones and other nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

There is al­ready anec­do­tal ev­i­dence of the chal­lenges pet own­ers and emer­gency ser­vice per­son­nel face dur­ing dis­as­ter prepa­ra­tion, evac­u­a­tions and re­cov­ery. There is a need to un­der­stand how pet own­ers pre­pare for dis­as­ters so emer­gency ser­vices can im­prove com­mu­ni­ca­tions re­gard­ing the ac­tions of pet own­ers.

The study is called Pets and Peo­ple, Pre­pared­ness for Dis­as­ters.

The sur­vey cov­ers the pre- plan­ning, re­sponse and re­cov­ery stages of dis­as­ter from the per­spec­tive of pet own­ers and in­cludes con­sid­er­a­tion of the bond peo­ple have with their pets.

In­for­ma­tion will be col­lected from those who have ex­pe­ri­enced dis­as­ters with pets, in­clud­ing what they did and where they went. The study also seeks the views of pet own­ers who haven’t ex­pe­ri­enced a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter first hand.

Re­searchers will as­sess the ex­tent to which pet own­ers are pre­pared, the role pets play around evac­u­a­tion de­ci­sion­mak­ing, how own­ers man­age their pets at the time and post- dis­as­ter and how this may im­pact on own­ers’ well­be­ing.

The study aims to build a case to sup­port an­i­mals and own­ers in th­ese sit­u­a­tions; high­light­ing the im­por­tance of the hu­man- an­i­mal bond, the wel­fare of an­i­mals and the well­be­ing of pet own­ers.

While not want­ing to dis­tress any­one who has been af­fected by the re­cent bush­fires, there may be some who are happy to tell their story and oth­ers who are con­cerned for those af­fected and will­ing to take part in the sur­vey in sup­port.

• To par­tic­i­pate or find out more in­for­ma­tion, visit the on­line sur­vey: sur­veymon­key. com/ s/ pets- and­peo­ple- pre­pared­ness- for- dis­as­ters

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