Promoting community resilience through connection to animals
The current BNHCRC-funded Flood Risk Communication project has been investigating two behaviours associated with the majority of flood fatalities in Australia; namely, entering floodwater in vehicles, and playing/recreating in floodwater. To date, this project has comprised three main research activities: - a nationally-representative survey of the general public to explore their behaviours around floodwater; both driving into it, and entering it on foot, or in boats - surveys with a number of SES agencies to explore the situations in which their personnel encounter floodwater and predictors of driving into floodwater in work vehicles, and - an investigation of expert and public mental models to explore the risk perceptions, knowledge and decision-making processes of emergency service personnel and the public around entering floodwater in a vehicle or for recreation This presentation will provide an overview of key findings from the survey and qualitative research conducted to date and identify a number of dilemmas in floodwater safety and risk communication that emerge from these data. These include: - If our message is ‘if it’s flooded forget it’, but people are still entering floodwater - should we consider providing advice about how to better assess the risks of entering floodwater? Or what to do if stuck in water? - Is it ok for emergency services to enter floodwater – and to be seen by the public entering floodwater? In what situations is it not ok? - If the public perception of floodwater is that it’s fun to play in, do we need to consider providing different risk messaging about entering and recreating in floodwater?