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Free bushfire resilience rating app

October 24, 2023 5:59 am in by

Australians now have access to a free app to better prepare their home from bushfire risk and help put downward pressure on insurance premiums.

The Federal Government contributed $3 million to support the groundbreaking work of the Resilient Building Council (RBC) who launched their free Bushfire Resilience Rating app on Monday (October 23).

The app enables Australians to assess their site-specific risk and take action to improve their bushfire resilience.

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In a world-first, households can now measure the bushfire resilience of their own home through a star-rating system and receive a customised action plan to make practical, evidence-based bushfire safety improvements to their homes.

As tasks are completed, their home becomes safer and the home’s Resilience Rating is updated through the app.

The RBC received funding from the Australian Government’s Disaster Risk Reduction Package, to develop the app.

Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt said while governments have a role to play in preparing for this peak period for severe weather, it is a collective responsibility households also share.

“As more people use the app and take action – large or small – communities around Australia will be better prepared.””

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Member for Gilmore, Fiona Phillips MP said the app has been piloted across the Eurobodalla and Shoalhaven.

“795 homes in the Shoalhaven and Eurobodalla were lost in the 2019-2020 bushfires. That’s left a massive toll on people both financially and mentally,” Ms Phillips said.

“This left many people just wanting to know what they can do to better protect their home from bushfires,” she said.

“I’m really pleased that this bushfire resilience app was piloted in the Shoalhaven, by people with real lived experiences of bushfires.

“It’s really given people an important tool to focus on some really practical things that can be done to help improve resilience against bushfires.”

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Over 1,200 households from bushfire impacted areas helped co-design and trial the app, undertaking actions that resulted in an average 67% reduction in the likelihood of their home igniting in a bushfire.

The Bushfire Resilience Rating is calculated using the Bushfire House Loss Probability Model, bushfire information, and historical house loss data.

This is the first scientific model to calculate bushfire building performance.

RBC’s Resilience Ratings were developed to improve the resilience and preparedness of households who have identified bushfire risk and plan ways to mitigate the risk.

The app was trialled in a number of different fire-prone locations across the country including in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

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This has been developed in response to a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

The next phase of RBC’s Resilience Ratings program will be launched by mid-2024, providing expert on-site assessments for integrated bushfire, flood, storm, cyclone, heatwave, and energy efficiency ratings.

On-site assessors will be able to provide a detailed assessment of a home and verify Resilience Ratings to support industry initiatives, grants programs or advertising Resilience Ratings when selling or leasing a property.

This phase is jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments

The app is not available at the app store or google play but can be downloaded for free at rating.rbcouncil.org

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Images: Fiona Phillips

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