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Does emotional closeness to pets motivate their inclusion in bushfire survival plans? : implications for emergency communicators
As pet ownership influences responses to the threat of bushfire, current preparedness communication acknowledges the pet-owner relationship as a key reason for including pets in emergency plans. However, not all pet-owner relationships are the same. Some people are physically and emotionally ‘closer’ to their pets than are others, a difference that could impact survival plan intentions. This South Australian study examines how differences in pet-owner closeness affects owners’ views of pets as a motivator for plan creation and of pet inclusion in planning across four survival-plan intention types: ‘stay and defend’, ‘split the household’, ‘wait and decide’, and ‘leave early’. Of several pet-owner closeness indicators, family membership of pets and anticipated separation distress influenced whether pets were considered a motivator and were included in plans. Intention-specific recommendations for creating motivating communications based on these effects are presented for emergency services communicators.