Floodwaters a Drowning Threat

With large parts of Australia seeing heavy rain and more expected Royal Life Saving Australia is urging caution around all waterways to prevent drowning tragedies from occurring.

“Whilst the heavy deluge brings long overdue rain to farmers in drought stricken parts of Australia, it can also present a very real drowning threat to people, said Richard Franklin Royal Life Saving’s National Health Promotion and Research Manager. “Last year ten people drowned while attempting to transverse flooded roadways.

From the heavy deluge we have seen localised flooding, water across roads and new water sources emerging which all pose a potential drowning threat. “People driving through flood waters must take care with the changed conditions of the road, now presenting drowning hazards. You may think it is ok and want to save time by driving over a flooded road or causeway but you run the risk of being trapped in rising waters or swept away in your car added Franklin.

The recent heavy rains also pose a threat to children. “Young children are inquisitive and love to go out and play when it is raining. However, puddles of water can quickly change into fast flowing water and before you know it a young child can be swept away, said Franklin. Parents and carers must constantly supervise children whenever there is water around, this includes post holes filled with water and newly flooded irrigation channels, creeks and drains.

Royal Life Saving recommends the following when driving in areas with water over the road:

  • Avoid roads prone to flooding.
  • Be mindful of flood warning signs and flood level indicators
  • Where there is water across the road, check the level and speed of the water before entry. Also check that the road has not been washed away.
  • Crossing flooded bridges and causeways is dangerous and should not be attempted.
  • Check with Police and Emergency services about road conditions before you set out.
  • Listen to the local radio station for reports about localised flooding.

Royal Life Saving drowning statistics are primarily collected from the National Coroners Information System (NCIS)