Throughout the week, from 30 April to 6 May, SES volunteers held community events across the state to inform communities of the danger of floodwater. This year’s message is clear – never drive, ride, walk or play in floodwater.
In the last 18 months from September 2010 to March 2012, Victoria has experienced extreme and unpredictable rainfall causing some of the worst floods in the state’s history.
During the last three major flood events, SES has responded to 265 flood rescues making it increasingly obvious that the behaviour and attitudes towards floodwater need to be addressed.
With this figure in mind and the fact that the number one cause of death, illness and injury during floods is due to people entering floodwater, the 2012 FloodSafe campaign focused on educating Victorians on the dangers associated with floodwater.
A new advertising campaign was also launched during FloodSafe Awareness Week highlighting the hidden dangers of floodwater, targeting risk taking behaviour such as driving, riding, or playing in floodwater with the catch phrase ‘you don’t know what you’re getting into’. This campaign was promoted through television, press, and social media.
Floods can hit hard and fast and strong currents can be hard to see. Floodwater picks up debris and is filled with unseen and dangerous debris such as broken glass, shattered timbers and twisted metal as well as sewage, dead animals, putrid food waste and toxic chemicals.
Floodwater also washes out roads and land, causing sinkholes and gaps in the road. If you don’t see the road, it might not be there anymore.
The community is also encouraged to prepare an emergency kit and plan. Informed people survive floods.
During FloodSafe week, people are also encouraged to take the ‘how FloodSafe are you’ quiz on Facebook. For information and help putting together an emergency kit and plan visit www.ses.vic.gov.au or www.facebook.com/ses