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FloodSafe Week is underway

Published 06/05/2013

Floodwater has more in common with a garbage dump than a beach or swimming pool, according to SES CEO Mary Barry. FloodSafe Week installation

Ms Barry was speaking at Saturday’s official launch of Victoria State Emergency Service’s (SES) FloodSafe Week, held at Queensbridge Square in Southbank.

The dangers of floodwater and why you should never play in it are the focus of this year’s FloodSafe campaign. Saturday's launch included a visual reminder (pictured at right) of how disgusting floodwater is.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells, who launched the week on Saturday, said playing in floodwater was the number one cause of child and teenage deaths in Australian floods.

Many of the calls for help received during 2012 floods had been from “irresponsible people entering floodwater with no regard for their own safety or that of the emergency services workers who came to rescue them,” he said.

Minister Wells encouraged everyone to get involved in FloodSafe Week to inform themselves and support the amazing work done by SES volunteers in rain, hail or shine. Minister Wells also took the opportunity to meet members of SES' Footscray Unit.

Bureau of Meteorology Regional Director Tarini Casinader discussed the threat of flooding with those assembled for the opening. The Bureau shares weather-based warnings with emergency agencies to help plan a response to potential flooding.

While memories of past floods may be useful, she said, they could also be misleading as each flood is different.

“Always listen to the information being provided by the Bureau and emergency agencies.”

Ms Barry said this year’s FloodSafe campaign was aimed at two groups – parents of young children, and young men who think mucking about in floodwater is cool. Minister Wells with volunteers

“Floodwater is filthy, disgusting stuff that can cause serious harm,” she said.

“Floodwater is not a temporary swimming pool, beach or lake, it is a floating garbage dump.”

Victoria SES is also launching 20 Local Flood Guides this week to help households, businesses and individuals prepare, Ms Barry said.

“It’s not a case of if we get another flood. It’s when,” she said.

SES' floodwater installation is on show all week at Queensbridge Square, Southbank. Head down and check it out.

Visit our FloodSafe Week page for information on how you can get involved and informed. There are events happening all around Victoria and SES volunteers would love to meet you.