FLOODSAFE Week from May 25 to 31 is an opportunity for Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) volunteers to engage with the local community and warn people about the dangers of floodwater.
Victoria has a long history of flooding, however many people are unaware of just how dirty, disgusting and dangerous floodwater can be.
Driving through floodwater is the biggest killer of adults in Australian floods – and it’s completely avoidable.
Even shallow floodwater can sweep away your vehicle or leave you stranded. Don’t ever risk driving through floodwater.
Floodwater can wash out roads to create slips and sinkholes, so even seemingly shallow water across a familiar road can pose danger. Never enter floodwater: you don’t know what you are getting into.
It isn’t just drowning that kills. By the time floodwater has reached your neighbourhood, it may have picked up all kinds of awful materials including toxic chemicals, animal faeces, decaying animals, garbage, broken glass and rusted metal.
Anyone who comes into contact with floodwater may be exposed to E.Coli infection, diarrhoea, hepatitis, infections and dermatitis.
FloodSafe Week is an annual initiative of VICSES aimed at raising awareness about the risk of floods.
VICSES volunteers will hold a range of events throughout the week to explain some of the dangers and give tips on how to prepare for floods.
VICSES community resilience coordinator, Louise Haughton said this year’s focus was on the dangers of entering floodwater.
“Floodwater is extremely dangerous, and we have just seen in New South Wales and Queensland how easily people can become unstuck and at risk,” Ms Haughton said.
“Drivers, parents and children need to be aware of what’s in that water and ensure they never enter floodwater.”
Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Kimberley Brown, said the council works closely with VICSES in shared planning for flood emergencies and community education activities.
“The Bass Coast Flood Emergency Plan is a great example of this collaborative approach,” Cr Brown said.
“The plan focusses on known flood threats in Bass Coast and outlines what each organisation will do in response to a flood situation.”
Cr Brown said FloodSafe Week’s community messages were an important reminder for all about the dangers of flood water.
For more information about FloodSafe Week including instructions on how to put together an emergency kit or to see the Bass Coast Flood Emergency Plan visit www.ses.vic.gov.au or facebook.com/vicses.