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.
A flood wipes out a bridge in southern WA, February 2017. Photo: Dana Fairhead
Changing the focus of warning messages based on research has been the key to ensure critical safety advice is heard and acted upon.
Photo: Sascha Grant CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Using the latest satellite-based earth observation systems and the Himawari satellite, research will allow fire managers to hone in on bushfires before they become too large to handle.
Photo: Michael Dawes (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Research has shown that improvements can be made that can strengthen houses to reduce wind damage, as well as save money through the reduction of insurance premiums.
Photo: South Australia SES
‘What if?’ scenario modelling by the CRC is helping government, planning authorities and emergency service agencies think through the costs and consequences of various options on preparing for major disasters and how...
Photo: South Australia SES
Emergency Management Victoria is embedding national findings to develop a better understanding of resilience at the state level, using baseline data to build a ‘living’ resilience index within the organisation.
Photo: New Zealand Fire Service

Teamwork is essential to ensure incident management teams function to the best of their ability in challenging and high stakes environments. To help improve teamwork, practical tools have been developed by the...

Prescribed burning underway. Photo Veronique Florec
Not everything that is important can be assigned a dollar value, with research helping natural hazards managers justify the use and allocation of resources for mitigation efforts.
Photo: Rex Boggs (CC By-ND 2.0)
CRC research is informing community flood warning campaigns, emergency services training and national policy initiatives.
Photo: Nathan Maddock, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Sophisticated fire mapping and modelling of fire severity is helping fire and land managers assess greenhouse gas emissions and develop carbon abatement plans.

News archives

AFAC17 logo

AFAC17 logo

All the resources from our 2017 conference

National research priorities for natural hazards

National research priorities for natural hazards

National priorities for research

November update: Southern Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook 2017-18

Bushfire outlook 2017-18

Four years of highlights

Bushfire planning with kids ebook

Explore by keyword