Monday, November 22, 2010

The ‘everybody out’ policy has potential for greater house losses

The knee-jerk reaction of the Royal Commission into the bushfires of February 7, 2009 to leave in tatters the long-effective policy of home defence by the able-bodied prepared and calling for mass evacuations, the post-Royal Commission advice has created the potential for even greater tragedies. For more deaths, increased house losses, multiplied rebuilding costs, and proliferating psychological trauma. The new ‘everybody out’ call will put more people on the road too late. People may be safer if (and it’s a very big ‘if’) residents leave before any fire starts. But they are more likely to be left homeless. This may be good for the building industry – but is it good for the economy? Is it good for communities?