News from the CRC

water over road.jpg

Roadway flooding
Roadway flooding
Release date
13 Jul 2017
More information:
Nathan Maddock
Senior Communications Officer

How to stop people entering floodwater

People continue to enter floodwater in vehicles and on foot, despite many knowing the risks.

Researchers from the Bushfire Natural Hazards CRC and Risk Frontiers, Macquarie University, analysed the who, when and why of flood fatalities, so they could target information to high-risk groups and hopefully prevent further deaths.

Of the 1,859 deaths due to floods from 1900 to 2015, 79 per cent were male, almost half of whom were attempting to cross a bridge, road, or similar.

“People think they’re in a big car that’s built to drive through floodwaters,” says research leader Dr Katharine Haynes.

“Often, they don’t realise that the road may be washed away, there could be lots of debris in the water, or it’s flowing deeper and faster than it looks.”

Fatalities in vehicles, particularly four-wheel drives, increased sharply during the last 20 years, and a high number occurred when visibility was poor—at twilight or night-time.

“Aside from better education, this highlights the need for structural measures like better signage, lighting and road design, as some people are unaware that they are entering floodwater until its too late,” Katharine says.

Their research is informing the latest safety campaign from the NSW State Emergency Service. New funding from the CRC will also help them investigate the best way to tailor information to target groups.

“A one-size-fits-all risk communication approach doesn’t work,” Katharine says.

“The most effective material is developed with people at risk themselves, so we’re going to work with those groups and put people in a room, give them different sorts of risk communication, run them through realistic disaster scenarios, and see how they behave.”

More news from the CRC

Dr Josh Whitaker presents his findings on three catastrophic bushfires. Photo: Anthony Clark.
CRC research into communication and community engagement was front and centre in Coffs Harbour last week at the Australian Community Engagement and Fire Awareness Conference.
CRC booth at ANZDMC.
Research from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC was recently featured on the Gold Coast.
Dr Mel Parsons informing stakeholders on her work on the Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index.
Around 50 people from across the ACT were briefed last week on several key research projects underway at the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.
Mark Crosweller AFSM speaks at the 2018 Science at the Shine Dome.
The CRC welcomes Mark Crosweller, AFSM, to its Board. Mark heads the National Resilience Taskforce, in the Department of Home Affairs in the Commonwealth Government, and has an extensive background in emergency...
Science at the Shine Dome 2018
The annual Science at the Shine Dome was this year supported by the CRC with a focus on natural hazards science.
All new journal articles and reports on CRC research have been made available this month and are available online.
Bhiamie Williamson-Eckford, Jess Weir and Tim Neale
This is the May 2018 newsletter from the Hazards, culture and Indigenous communities project, with updates for project end-users.
Lead researcher Celeste Young at AFAC17.
International keynote speakers, panel discussions and researchers from CRC projects will share their latest findings at AFAC18 powered by INTERSCHUTZ, the annual Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC conference.
Korah Parackal presents at Showcase 2017.
CRC PhD student Korah Parackal was a finalist for an award that recognises both his research and his communication skills.
The latest edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management is now available, informed by CRC research and expertise.

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

The Sir Ivan fire. Photo: Nick Moir, Fairfax Media

The Sir Ivan fire. Photo: Nick Moir, Fairfax Media

Research findings from 2017 NSW fires

Four years of highlights

Bushfire planning with kids ebook

Explore by keyword