Challenging complacency about bush fire risk in Australia


1.3 million households in New South Wales are at high risk of bush fire. Preparation is linked to survival during bush fires – families that prepare their homes and make a plan are much more likely to escape unscathed.

Previous campaigns meant there was high awareness of the risk of fire, but this was not leading to action. In 2012, 53% of people knew they should make a plan but hadn’t actually done so. Complacency and apathy had become the norm.

Our campaign built on deep cultural and psychological insights about why households in high risk areas felt complacent rather than vulnerable to create a powerful campaign to drive action. The campaign aimed to overcome the optimism bias of households in rural New South Wales.

The campaign achieved a 1,111% increase in households downloading a Bush Fire Plan and a 1,620% increase in households completing a plan. In total, an additional 45,924 households completed a plan in 2012/13 compared to the previous year.