Be Summer Ready these school holidays

Be Summer Ready these school holidays

17/12/2021, 12:15 PM

It’s almost time for summer school holidays, and we hope every Victorian will enjoy travelling to see loved ones, or to take a break and be in nature and enjoy the festive period ahead.

As we begin to see more people driving across the state to see family and friends, or maybe go camping in popular locations throughout our beautiful state, we want you to remember that the landscape around your favourite beauty spots may have changed, due to the weather events which took place in the spring.

With full water catchments and river banks regularly inundated, the ground may not be as firm as you expect. River conditions will also be variable given the higher water levels reached over spring, so we encourage you to avoid setting up camp under trees, or on low-lying areas alongside creeks or rivers, due to the risk of damaged or falling trees and riverine flooding.

As this is our second ‘La Niña’ summer, we know it will be wetter than average, with an increased risk of tropical cyclones, heavy rainfall, and widespread flooding. The last time Australia experienced a ‘double-dip ’ La Niña weather event was summer 2010/11, which had devastating consequences from riverine flooding right across Victoria.

Floods are the second deadliest natural disaster in Australia, with the majority of fatalities due to people being washed away in vehicles. It takes only 15cm of water to float a small car, so we urge you never to take the risk of driving or walking through floodwater. If you are travelling to enjoy the outdoors, or even just going on a long drive, set up a watch zone on the VicEmergency app to keep track of flood and weather events.

You can also stay informed about weather and forecasts at the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Victoria has many parts prone to flooding, so check our Local Flood Guides for your destination..  Local flood guides are a result of collaboration between Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES), local councils, water catchment authorities and communities, which contain important information including how historical floodwater has behaved. Local Flood Guides give you the opportunity to avoid floodwater, and stay safe.

If you are going on a road trip, remember:

  • Be a planner: Plan your trip in advance and allow it to be flexible. Always remember to factor in regular breaks so you can stop and recharge.
  • Get a good night's rest: Don't leave your packing until late the night before. Go to bed early and start the day feeling fresh.
  • Keep the kids busy: If you have a long road trip ahead, try and keep the kids occupied with activities such as games, colouring in, or watching a movie in the back seat.
  • Don’t get distracted: When you're behind the wheel of a vehicle, driving is your number one priority. The safety of you, and your passengers is in your hands.
  • Listen to your body: Are you yawning, rubbing your eyes, or feeling restless? These are all symptoms of fatigue. If you're feeling tired, don’t try and fight it - pull over for a power nap.

This summer, VICSES volunteers and Lions Club members will operate select Driver Reviver sites around Victoria on holiday weekends and peak traffic days, offering motorists a safe place to stop, rest and refresh. Remember to take a break if you see a rest stop along your journey.

For over 27 years, Driver Reviver has been a national campaign with one objective - to reduce road collisions by alleviating driver fatigue. At these rest stops you can get free coffee, tea, and snacks at roadside locations throughout Victoria. Our volunteers want you to arrive alive at your destination this holiday season so do stop for a chat. After all, they would much rather serve you at one of our Driver Reviver sites than cut you out of a car.

If you are going hiking, be sure to make use of emergency markers where available. The markers, dotted along hiking trails around the state, provide coordinates that use your location, and allow our volunteers to respond much more quickly if you need our help.

If you need flood or storm assistance from VICSES, call 132 500, or Triple 0 for a life-threatening emergency.

From all of our amazing VICSES volunteers and staff, we wish you a happy, peaceful and safe New Year.