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Taking Charge of Bushfire Preparedness: The Free Resilience Rating App for Homeowners
In an unprecedented development, Australians now have access to a revolutionary, free application designed to enhance their home’s resilience against bushfire risks while potentially reducing insurance premiums. The Australian Government has invested $3 million in support of the pioneering efforts of the Resilient Building Council (RBC), which has officially launched its innovative Bushfire Resilience Rating app. You can access the app here.
What Does the App Do? This groundbreaking application empowers Australians to assess the specific bushfire risk of their properties and take proactive measures to enhance their resilience to such hazards. Households can now gauge their home’s bushfire resilience using a star-rating system and receive a personalised action plan based on solid evidence to make practical safety improvements to their dwellings. As they complete these tasks, their homes become safer, and the app updates their Resilience Rating accordingly. The Australian Government’s Disaster Risk Reduction Package provided funding for the development of this app.
More than 1,200 households in bushfire-affected areas actively contributed to the co-design and trial phases of the app, successfully reducing the likelihood of their homes igniting in a bushfire by an average of 67%. The Bushfire Resilience Rating is determined using the Bushfire House Loss Probability Model, combined with bushfire data and historical house loss statistics, marking the first scientific model dedicated to assessing bushfire building performance. The RBC’s Resilience Ratings were conceived to strengthen the preparedness and resilience of households facing bushfire risks, offering strategic solutions to mitigate these risks.
The app underwent trials in various fire-prone regions across the country, including Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. Its development aligns with a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
What Lies Ahead? The next phase of RBC’s Resilience Ratings program is set to launch by mid-2024, introducing expert on-site assessments that encompass integrated ratings for bushfire, flood, storm, cyclone, heatwave, and energy efficiency. On-site assessors will be equipped to provide comprehensive evaluations of homes and validate Resilience Ratings, facilitating industry initiatives, grant programs, or the inclusion of Resilience Ratings in property sales or leases. This phase enjoys joint funding from both the Australian and New South Wales Governments.
For those interested in enhancing their home’s bushfire resilience, the app can be accessed through the Bushfire Resilience Home Assessment website.