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Bushfire plans needed to help reduce stress in emergencies

It is crucial for people who are anxious or easily stressed to have bushfire preparations in place, as they are unlikely to be able to think quickly and clearly in an emergency, a study by the University of Western Australia has found.

Clinical psychologist Lies Notebaert said that only 16 per cent of people in WA had a bushfire plan, despite campaigns by the state government to raise public awareness about the need to be prepared for the summer fire season.

“Our team has studied how extreme stress or anxiety affects the brain’s cognitive functions during emergencies such as bushfires, and we found extreme stress decreases a person’s ability to think clearly or make good decisions,” she said.

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