News from the CRC

Adelaide floods

Adelaide floods
This research is informing education campaigns for flood safety. Photo: South Australia State Emergency Service
Release date
26 Apr 2017
More information:
Dr Katharine Haynes
Alt Project Leader

History provides a lesson in preventing flood deaths

CRC research is now informing community flood warning campaigns, emergency services training and national policy initiatives, with a study led by Dr Katharine Haynes at Risk Frontiers, Macquarie University, investigating the circumstances of all flood fatalities in Australia from 1900 to 2015.

The study explored the socio-demographic and environmental factors surrounding the 1,859 flood fatalities over 115 years, finding distinct trends in relation to gender, age, activity and the circumstances of the death. These trends were analysed in the context of changes to emergency management policy and practice over time.

The NSW State Emergency Service has used the findings of the research for its FloodSafe community campaign and training, while the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has used it to inform its If It’s Flooded, Forget it campaign.

Hundreds of flood rescues have been conducted over the last two years across the country, says project end-user Dr Elspeth Rae from the NSW SES.

“As a consequence of risky behaviour, flood fatalities and rescues are a constant issue for emergency services. This study has highlighted the significant number of fatalities that have occurred as a consequence of flooding compared to other hazards, particularly as a result of driving through floodwater,” Dr Rae said.

The results of this research are significantly contributing to investigations into preventing flood fatalities by the Prevention of Flood Related Fatalities Working Group of the Community Engagement Sub-committee of the Australia and New Zealand Emergency Management Committee. This working group was led by the NSW State Emergency Service and comprised policy makers, practitioners and researchers involved in flood risk management from Australia and New Zealand.

The latest NSW SES flood campaign videos, informed by this research, are availabe at www.bnhcrc.com.au/news/2017/research-informs-flood-safe-campaign  

More information about the findings from this research are available in Hazard Note 20Where, why and how are Australians dying in floods?

More news from the CRC

New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
If you're a CRC PhD student or early career researcher, you can win a great cash prize through the CRC Association’s Early Career Researcher Showcase, sponsored by CQUniversity.
Parliament House, Canberra
Key Commonwealth Government representatives were briefed by Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researchers recently in Canberra.
Yang Chen
The first round of Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC PhD students have graduated and are sharing their research outcomes with the fire and emergency services sector. They’re joined by recent graduates who began their PhD...
Australian panel for IDDR 2017
Emergency management practitioners and researchers gathered in Sydney last week for a public forum on reducing the impacts of disasters in Australia.
Hurricane Harvey damage. Photo: Daniel Smith
Research continues after a severe Atlantic hurricane season, with Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researcher Dr Daniel Smith from the Cyclone Testing Station part of an international team investigating the impacts of...
International Day For Disaster Reduction
Sydney to host Australian forum for International Day for Disaster Reduction this Friday 13 October, with speakers covering international, national, state and local perspectives on disaster reduction.
Flooded road in South Australia. Photo: South Australia SES.
Flood warning research by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC has been highlighted as one of the top ten science meets business innovations.
Storm surge damage at Ponte Vedra Florida from Hurricane Irma. Photo by Daniel Smith, Cyclone Testing Station.
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC researcher Dr Daniel Smith is part of an international team assessing the impacts from Hurricane Irma in Florida.
Dr Marta Yebra at the 2017 Research Forum
With a focus on the science of natural hazards, the papers from the 2017 Research Forum held in Sydney on 4 September are available. Delve into the science in detail, with a majority of research papers available in full.

News archives

All the resources from our 2016 conference

Research program in detail

Where, why and how are Australians dying in floods?

2015-2016 year in review

Bushfire planning with kids ebook

Explore by keyword