Volume 18 Issue 3, 2003

The utility of the World-Wide- Web for fire preparedness of residents

Bernd Rohrmann

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


The “World-Wide-Web” (WWW) is the newest – yet also least researched – tool for informing residents about environmental hazards such as cyclones, fires, volcanic eruptions or floods and for enhancing their preparedness for emergencies and disasters. In this research, a set of six websites by fire authorities (four Australian and two international) were systematically assessed by a group of fire experts, disaster researchers, cognitive psychologists, website experts and residents (N=16). Evaluation criteria included: comprehensibility, completeness of information, relevance for residents, visual appeal, layout, navigability, and suitability for relevant target groups. The results indicate that the websites are well accepted and mostly rated as useful, yet there is considerable potential for improvement. Pertinent suggestions are outlined and further research needs discussed.