Research leader

Dr Mel Taylor Research Leader
Dr Katharine Haynes Research Leader

Research team

Dr Matalena Tofa Research Team

End User representatives

Elspeth Rae End-User
Tamsin Achilles End-User
Susan Davie
Susan Davie End-User
Kate White End-User
Peter Jeffrey End-User
Amanda Leck End-User
Amy Peden End-User
Suellen Flint
Suellen Flint End-User
Jon Carr End-User
Deborah Lamb End-User
Gemma Bellenger End-User
Joshua McLaren End-User

The project commenced in July 2017 to develop an understanding of the motivations, beliefs, decision-making processes and information needs of at-risk groups for flood fatalities. State Emergency Services (SES) from around Australia have worked closely with the research team from the onset of the project, taking particular interest in the behaviours of their own personnel when it comes to risk taking and driving into floodwater, as well as their attitudes to the public entering into floodwater.

To look at the extent to which entering floodwater is influenced by behaviour, the research team conducted extensive survey and quantitative research to investigate the conditions in which people drive through floodwater and the decision-making around what was being thought at the time and why they chose to go through instead of turning around. Risk is often difficult to assess and a poor ability to perceive risk is likely to result in increased engagement in risky driving behaviours. To better understand the decision-making processes involving drivers’ decisions to enter floodwaters, the research team explored the ability to recognise floodwater hazard and adequately assess the level of associated risk, in a newly developed online tool, EXPERTise 2.0 (Expert Intensive Skills Evaluation). 

In conjunction with AFAC and SES research end-users, the results of this research has informed the co-development of a set of public communication guidelines and the establishment of a set of national community safety announcements for use by the ABC in emergency broadcasting.

Read the final report here.

Flood briefs and videos

Year Type Citation
2021 Report Taylor, M., Tofa, M. & Haynes, K. Flood risk communication - final project report. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2021).
2020 Journal Article Taylor, M. et al. Driving into floodwater: using data from emergency responders to inform workplace safety policy and practice. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 35, 26-34 (2020).
2020 Journal Article Ahmed, M. Arifa, Haynes, K. & Taylor, M. Vehicle‐related flood fatalities in Australia, 2001–2017. Journal of Flood Risk Management 13, (2020).
2020 Journal Article Ahmed, M. Arifa, Haynes, K., Tofa, M., Hope, G. & Taylor, M. Duty or safety? Exploring emergency service personnel's perceptions of risk and decision-making when driving through floodwater. Progress in Disaster Science 5, (2020).
2019 Journal Article Taylor, M. et al. Behaviour around floodwater: challenges for floodwater safety and risk communication. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 34, 40-47 (2019).
2019 Journal Article Fountain, L., Tofa, M., Haynes, K., Taylor, M. & Ferguson, S. Older adults in disaster and emergency management: What are the priority research areas in Australia?. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 39, (2019).
2019 Magazine Article Taylor, M. & Haynes, K. What do we really mean by ‘floodwater’ and is it ever ok to enter?. 32, (2019).
2019 Report Taylor, M., Haynes, K. & Tofa, M. Building resilience through flood risk communication annual report 2018-2019. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2019).
2018 Journal Article Taylor, M., Haynes, K. & Ahmed, M. Arifa. Driving into floodwater: A systematic review of risks, behaviour and mitigation. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 31, 10 (2018).
2018 Journal Article Haynes, K., Tofa, M., Avci, A., Van Leeuwen, J. & Coates, L. Motivations and experiences of sheltering in place during floods: Implications for policy and practice. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 31, 7 (2018).
Date Title Download Key Topics
18 Apr 2017 Flood Risk Communication PDF icon 354.87 KB (354.87 KB) communication, flood, warnings
07 Jul 2017 Communicating and warning: getting the message across more effectively PDF icon 4.79 MB (4.79 MB) communication, flood, warnings
31 Aug 2017 Fire Australia Issue Three 2017 PDF icon 5.22 MB (5.22 MB) child-centred, prescribed burning, severe weather
16 Apr 2018 Building resilience through flood risk communication PDF icon 2.13 MB (2.13 MB) communication, flood, warnings
19 Sep 2018 Defining floodwater -expert and public perspectives PDF icon 2.1 MB (2.1 MB) communication, flood, warnings
21 Dec 2018 Driving into floodwater - practice brief one December 2018 PDF icon 417.72 KB (417.72 KB) communication, flood, warnings
30 May 2019 Warnings that save lives File 0 bytes (0 bytes)
15 Jul 2019 Community preparedness, warnings and response to 2017 NSW fires File 0 bytes (0 bytes) communication, communities, warnings
24 Jul 2019 Vehicle related flood deaths - practice brief two July 2019 PDF icon 1.11 MB (1.11 MB) communication, flood, warnings
27 Aug 2019 Behaviour around floodwater: Dilemmas for floodwater safety and risk communication PDF icon 4.06 MB (4.06 MB) flood, risk management
24 Sep 2019 Flood Risk Communication PDF icon 2.5 MB (2.5 MB) flood, risk management
30 Apr 2020 When is water on the roads dangerous? - practice brief three April 2020 PDF icon 1.56 MB (1.56 MB) communication, flood, warnings
30 Apr 2020 Public survey of driving and recreating in floodwater - practice brief four April 2020 PDF icon 948.94 KB (948.94 KB) communication, flood, warnings
30 Apr 2020 Evaluation of flood risk communication materials - practice brief five April 2020 PDF icon 1.51 MB (1.51 MB) communication, flood, warnings
30 Apr 2020 SES personnel’s experiences of driving in floodwater - practice brief six April 2020 PDF icon 2.99 MB (2.99 MB) communication, flood, warnings
01 Oct 2020 Developing and validating a tool to assess expertise in the assessment of floodwater - practice brief seven October 2020 PDF icon 2.34 MB (2.34 MB) communication, flood, warnings
05 Oct 2020 Download the Research into practice brief series communication, flood, warnings
16 Nov 2020 When is water on the roads dangerous? – Perspectives of emergency service professionals File 0 bytes (0 bytes) communication, flood, warnings
16 Nov 2020 Driving and recreating in floodwater – What does Australia think? File 0 bytes (0 bytes) communication, flood, warnings
16 Nov 2020 Evaluating flood risk communication messaging – Analysing flood risk communication campaigns File 0 bytes (0 bytes) communication, flood, warnings
21 Dec 2020 Fire Australia Issue Four 2020 PDF icon 4.58 MB (4.58 MB) communication, fire, flood
13 Aug 2021 Driving change: the evolution of communications and warnings in emergency preparedness, response and recovery communication, communities, warnings
13 Aug 2021 Hon A/Prof Mel Taylor interview: flood risk communication File 0 bytes (0 bytes) communication, flood, warnings
13 Aug 2021 Response 2: Flood risk communication File 0 bytes (0 bytes) communication, flood, warnings
13 Aug 2021 The evolution of communications and warnings in emergency preparedness, response and recovery File 0 bytes (0 bytes) communication, communities, warnings
13 Aug 2021 Trailer, Response 2: Flood risk communication File 0 bytes (0 bytes) communication, flood, warnings
30 Jun 2017
Project objectives:Develop a detailed understanding of the motivations, beliefs, decision making processes...
Flood risk communication to reduce vehiclerelated flood fatalities
18 Sep 2018
If imagery in public risk communication always presents a fast flowing, clearly dangerous body of water, how...
27 Aug 2019
Just under half of all flood-related fatalities in Australia (45%) are attributed to people entering...