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National Disaster Relief

CLIMATE CHANGE AND DROUGHT Impacts on our health, agricultural production, ecosystems, economy and urban water supplies.

Contents 3. Climate Change & Drought

17. Water Safety

7. Flood Preparation

19. Water Safety

9. Cyclone Preparation

21. Bike Safety

11. Fire Safety

23. Road Safety

13. Tsunami Awareness

25. Emergency Contacts

15. Home Security

Climate Change and Drought Australia’s rural and regional communities are vulnerable to a wide range of impacts from our changing climate. Drought is one of the major events that can deeply affect communities, agriculture, our national economy, human health and natural ecosystems.

Current rainfall deficiencies in New South Wales and Queensland have recently received widespread media and political attention. This factsheet explains what drought is, the influence of climate change on drought in Australia, its impacts, and how, if climate change continues unabated, droughts are likely to worsen in severity and duration in southern Australia.

Over the past 30 years, there has been a discernible decrease in rainfall across southern Australia. What is drought? Drought is defined as “a prolonged, abnormally dry period when the amount of available water is insufficient to meet our normal use” (BOM 2018a). Droughts can be measured in many ways, but meteorologists monitor the extent and severity of drought in terms of rainfall deficiencies. A rainfall deficit occurs when an area’s total rainfall over a period is less than the average for that period (BOM 2018a). What is the influence of climate change on drought? Warming of the climate has contributed towards a southward shift in weather fronts from the Southern Ocean, which typically bring rain to southern Australia during winter and spring. As these weather fronts have shifted southwards, rainfall in southern Australia has declined, increasing the risk of drought conditions. The region has also experienced significant warming during the last 50 years (Timbal et al. 2010). Climate change is driving an increase in the intensity and frequency of hot days and heatwaves in Australia, in turn increasing the severity of droughts. In summary, climate change is likely making drought conditions in southwest and southeast Australia worse. This is consistent with observations of decreases in cool season rainfall in southern Australia over the past 30 years, and consistent with future projections. At the same time, climate change is likely making northwestern Australia wetter (CSIRO and BoM 2014; 2015). Observed trends on drought in Australia Australia has experienced several major droughts during the 20th and early 21st centuries. The most severe droughts were the Federation Drought (1895–1903), the World War II drought (1939–1945) and the Millennium Drought (1996–2010). A recent study has found that these major droughts are without precedent in at least the past 400 years (Freund et al. 2017). Over the past 30 years, rainfall in the cool season (April to November) in the southwest of Western Australia and in southeastern Australia has shown a discernible decrease compared to natural variability. Southeastern Australia has experienced a 15 percent decline in late autumn and early winter rainfall and a 25 percent decline in average rainfall in April and May since the 1970s (Climate Council

2015; CSIRO and BoM 2014). The southwest of Western Australia has also experienced a decline in cool season rainfall of around 15 percent since the 1970s. These declines have contributed to large reductions in stream flows of up to 60 percent in both the southwest of Western Australia and the Murray-Darling Basin (CSIRO 2010; Potter et al. 2010). Average annual stream flow into Perth’s dams has decreased by nearly 80 percent since the mid-1970s (Climate Commission 2013).

The Australian summer of 2016/17 was characterised by recordbreaking heat particularly in the east of the continent, driving intense heatwaves, hot days and bushfires in central and eastern Australia. This was followed by a record dry winter, exacerbating already existing drought conditions In the autumn just past, rainfall across southern Australia was the second lowest on record (based on all data since 1900) (BoM 2018b). In New South Wales, by 7th June 2018, 16.4 percent of the state was declared drought affected, 46.6 percent declared in drought onset and 36.3 percent in drought watch (Figure 1) (DPI 2018). This leaves only 0.7 percent of the state that is either recovering from drought or not affected.

Queensland and New South Wales are currently in the grip of severe drought, with drought declared for 16.4 percent of New South Wales and 57.6 percent of Queensland.

In Queensland, more than 87 percent of the State was declared in drought in March 2017. Currently 57.6 percent of Queensland is in declared drought conditions (as at 17th May) (Queensland Government 2018). The Millennium Drought from

he Millennium Drought from 1996-2010 serves as a recent reminder of the wide-reaching impacts that drought can have on our health, the economy, ecosystems, agriculture and urban water supplies. Health: Droughts can have wide ranging effects on health, including impacts on nutrition, infectious diseases, on forest fires causing air pollution, and on mental health, such as post-traumatic stress and suicidal behaviour (Haines et al 2006; Climate Commission 2011). Droughts can also contribute to increases in mortality rates. Declines in physical health are also particularly prevalent amongst the elderly in drought-affected rural communities in Australia (Horton et al. 2010). Drought can also exacerbate mental health issues and is associated with increased suicide rates, especially amongst male farmers (Alston 2012). For example, a study in New South Wales found that the relative risk of suicide can increase by up to 15 percent for rural males aged 30–49 as the severity of drought increases (Hanigan et al. 2012). Urban water supplies: Water scarcity in major cities, particularly Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, has been exacerbated by drought and remains an ongoing challenge. As of 2013, 89 percent of Australia’s population lived in urban areas (World Bank 2013), placing high demand on urban water supplies as populations continue to grow. Pressure on urban water supplies is projected to intensify as droughts increase in frequency and severity in the southwest and southeast (Collett and Henry 2011).

Droughts have wide-ranging impacts on our health, agricultural production, ecosystems, economy and urban water supplies.

There are no reliable predictions yet as to the direction of change in rainfall in summer and autumn (CSIRO and BoM 2015). By 2030, winter and spring rainfall is projected to decrease by up to about 15 percent. Late in the century, rainfall is projected to decline by between 20-30 percent, depending on the greenhouse pollution scenario, with some important regional exceptions. Future drying trends in Australia are projected to be most pronounced over southwest Western Australia, with total reductions in autumn and winter precipitation potentially as high as 50 percent by the late 21st century (Delworth and Zeng 2014; CSIRO and BoM 2015). The combined effect of increasing temperatures and declining rainfall across southern Australia mean that there is high confidence that time spent in drought will increase over the course of the century in southern Australia in the future if greenhouse gas emissions are not cut deeply and rapidly (CSIRO and BoM 2015)

Across southern Australia, climate change is projected to result in further declines in cool season (winter and spring) rainfall, mainly driven by the southward movement of winter storm systems.

Flood Preparation Understanding how flooding may affect you. Australia has been home to many devastating floods in the past. You may be surprised to discover that in the past the area you live in has been affected by floods. Before we go through the preparation steps for flooding, let have a look at the three most common types of flooding. Slow-onset floods occur when inland rivers in the vast flat areas of Australia can flood. These floods may take days to build up. They can last for one or more weeks and can even last for months on some occasions. The damage caused by these floods can lead to major losses of livestock, cutting off rural towns and damaging crops, major roads and railways.

Rapid on-set floods occur more quickly, but they can be more catastrophic since there is less warning than with slow on-set floods. Rapid-onset floods occur on rivers found in coastal areas and the mountain headwaters of major rivers. Since these rivers drain more quickly than slow-moving inland rivers, flooding happens more quickly, over the course of a couple of days. Flash floods occur when extremely heavy rain due to intense storms is more than local drainage systems, either natural or man-made, can accommodate. These floods occur with little or no warning, and as a result, often cause loss of life. Flash floods are an increasing problem in cities, which have inefficient drainage.

Get Prepared If your home is near waterways or on low lying land it could be flooded, even if you have never seen floodwaters there, it doesn’t have to be raining in your area for flooding to occur. In heavy floods it is possible you may become stranded for many days until the water subsides and some remote areas can be isolated for months by floods, so it is important to be prepared.

Find Out • What is the history of flooding in your area? • Is there a local flood relocation plan? • What official river height will cause your home to be flooded? • What flood advice will be given by the Bureau of Meteorology and emergency management authorities? • Where is the catchment area in which heavy rain could result in floods near my home? • Your local council, shire or emergency services will be able to help with information about flood plans that detail problem areas, relocation routes and welfare centres.

Take Action Prepare an emergency kit, this is essential for short term survival during a flood. Your emergency kit should contain the following items:

General Items Battery operated AM/FM radio, waterproof torch, new spare batteries, first aid kit with manual, medications, toiletries, sanitary supplies, special requirements for infants, elderly, injured, disabled or pets. Mobile phone & charger or phone card, cash, key cards & credit cards. Emergency contact numbers, extra car & house keys, combination pocket knife.

Food & Water

Recover • Listen for information & follow advice from authorities. • Do not return home until authorities advise it is safe to do so. • If you need to go outside, be careful because power lines could be down and there may be fallen trees, broken water and sewage lines, loose roof sheeting & other material. • Check to see if your neighbours are safe. • Check the whereabouts of pets and animals. • Start cleaning up around your home - stack loose material clear of water metres, valves and telephone lines. • Use a torch when entering a building - never use matches, cigarette lighters or naked flames due to the potential of flammable gas. • Take photographs as soon as possible for insurance purposes. • Keep electricity & all appliances turned off until checked by an electrician. • Have gas appliances inspected & cleaned before use. • If you relocated from your home wait for advice before you go back. If returning, take the roads recommended by authorities and do not hurry. • Throw away all food or medication that may be contaminated through contact with the floodwater. • Boil all drinking water until supplies have been declared safe by authorities. • Keep electricity and all appliances turned off until checked by an electrician. • Be aware that snakes and other animals may enter your home during a flood. Cyclones and floods disrupt households & communities. Power, water, sewage, and gas services may not be working. There could also be road/transport closures, loss of communications etc. You might find after a cyclone or flood you need emergency accommodation, welfare support services, money, food or water. Getting back to normal as quickly as possible is the best thing you can do after a emergency. This can be very difficult for families to deal with but remember, homes and valuables can be restored and replaced, lives can’t.

Drinking water (at least 3 litres per person per day for 4 days), canned food (dried food is also a good alternative) to last for 4 days, can opener, cooking gear, eating utensils, a portable gas stove or barbeque, water container (for storing washing and cooking water).

Relocation Kit This is needed when you decide to relocate to safer accommodation: Strong waterproof plastic bags or containers for important documents, valuables & photos. Sleeping bags, blankets & towels. Waterproof ponchos, spare clothing (one change per person) including strong closed-in shoes, sturdy gloves & a hat for everyone involved in cleaning up after the flood. Tent or tarpaulin, books, playing cards or games. The safest route to higher, safer accommodation. If taking a pet with you, ensure you have food and water for them also. Also be conscious of others who may be disturbed by loud/anxious pets.

Emergency Response


Cyclone Preparation Are you really prepared for cyclone season? Australia is certainly no stranger to cyclones and we have all seen the devastating effects they can have on households and communities. This section will help you to understand how cyclones work and how you can you can be prepared if you are caught in the path of a cyclone. Tropical cyclones form over the ocean in the area around the equator between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. In order for a cyclone to form, that water in the ocean needs to be warm, at least 26 degrees Celsius. Above the warm ocean, water evaporates and begins to form clouds. If there is a low air pressure where these clouds are formed, it pulls them in slowly and the clouds begin to rotate.

It is due to the Earth spinning on its axis that causes the clouds to rotate. More clouds will continue to form and begin spinning more. It’s at this stage when it can develop into a mature cyclone or lose its momentum. Even when it has developed into a mature cyclone it can still increase in size and its wind speed can still increase. To be categorised as a cyclone, its average wind speed needs to exceed 63km per hour. If the cyclones winds exceed 118km per hour it will be classified as a severe cyclone. Once a cyclone reaches land its strength begins to fade out and weaken due to lack of heat and moisture compared to the ocean.

Be Prepared Before the cyclone season • Find out if your home has been built to cyclone standards, by contacting your building control authority or local council. • Make sure the walls, eaves and roof of your home are secure. • Cut back tree tops or branches well clear of your home with council permission. • Clear your property of loose material like plastic chairs or pool equipment etc. • Check if your neighbours are prepared. • Have a list of emergency numbers near by. • Know where your nearest safe high ground is and the safest access route to it. • You may also fit shutters or metal screens to all glass areas to keep them more secure.

Prepare an emergency kit containing: Portable battery radio, torch and spare batteries, water containers, dried or canned food, can opener, matches, fuel lamp, portable stove, cooking gear, eating utensils, first aid kit and manual, masking tape for windows, water proof bags etc. When a warning is issued • Depending on the advice given by your local authorities as the cyclone draws near the following actions may be warranted. • Collect children from school or day care if requested to do so. • Re-check your property for loose items. • Check that neighbours are aware and preparing. • Fill water containers and check emergency kit. • Pack an evacuation kit with warm clothes, baby essentials, valuables, medications, important papers, photos, mementos etc. into water proof bags to be taken along with your emergency kit. Park vehicles undercover or cover with blankets to avoid hail and debris damage. • Remain indoors, keeping pets with you. • Keep your TV/Radio on for any updates or information, close shutters or secure windows and lock doors. • Ensure household members know the strongest area of the house and what to do in case of evacuation.

Evacuation warning If evacuation is necessary, make sure to wear strong closed shoes and tough clothing for protection. Lock your house and turn off power, water and gas and take your evacuation and emergency kits with you.

When the cyclone strikes • Stay in the strongest area of the building, well clear of windows. Internal hallways or bathrooms are good areas as they are closed in free from windows and secured by other rooms. • Keep your emergency kit and evacuation kit with you, protect yourself with mattresses, blankets or pillows if necessary. • Ensure that all electrical appliances disconnected, use your radio for updates. • If the wind drops don’t assume the cyclone is over, this may be the calm ‘eye’ and violent winds will soon resume from another direction. • Remain inside until official ‘All Clear’ is given. • After the cyclone don’t go outside until you’re sure it is safe to do so. Check for gas leaks and any hazardous damage. Stay tuned to your radio for any advice or warnings.

Fire Safety Home planning and preparation, how ready are you? Fires are extremely dangerous and can cause serious injury and in some cases death. Fires can also destroy all your most cherished possessions and home. Approximately 70 people die each year as a result of fire, and more than 1000 people suffer from serious burns in house fires.

Fire hazards in the home include kitchens, the most dangerous room in the house for fires as cooking is the major cause of fires, faulty or damaged electrical wiring throughout the home, including faulty appliances and incorrect use of heaters through winter can pose a fire threat.

You can reduce the risk of a fire occurring in your home by taking simple effective steps to help prevent and be prepared for home fires. This section provides useful information to ensure the safety of your family and homes. The most commonly used fire safety equipment include: smoke alarms, fire blankets and portable fire extinguishers.

Unsupervised children playing with matches or lighters can ignite fires, and possibly cause harm to themselves and others. Carelessness regarding smoking can also start fires in the home if cigarettes are not put out properly in ashtrays etc. Also leaving candles and incense burners unattended can pose a threat. This section will help you be aware of any fire hazards in your home and help you be prepared in case of a fire.

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fire extinguishers Portable fire extinguishers can put out or contain fires that may start in your home. There are a range of extinguishers to use for particular fires, your local fire service can help give you advice and training in using a fire extinguisher. Because there are a number of portable fire extinguishers that are used for different types of fires it is important to obtain the right one, as some extinguishers can be extremely dangerous to use on certain types of fires. Be sure to check the fire extinguisher chart or ask for advice on what type of extinguisher suits your needs.

When to use a portable fire extinguisher...

Home Escape Plan

Remember that portable fire extinguishers are for small fires only. Never place yourself in danger when using a fire extinguisher, be sure that the fire is small enough to be managed by a portable extinguisher. Before fighting a fire, make sure you have a clear view and that your escape point is behind you. Do not attempt to fight the fire if it is too fierce, fires may block your escape path if they get out of control. If it is not safe to contain the blaze then escape from the fire area and call the fire service.

Create a fire escape plan for your home, know how you will escape in advance. Draw up a floor plan and identify two escape routes from each room. If your home is multiple levels, then find a way to escape from upper floors. Check that windows and fly screens open freely and that children can open each exit. Keep your escape plan somewhere in the central area of your home and practice your escape route at least two times a year. You must be able to escape your home if a fire does occur. Fires do happen, and being prepared reduces your risk of injury of fatality.

Smoke alarms Smoke alarms are designed to sense smoke and alert you to a fire to give you time to escape. Smoke alarms may be wires into the household electrical mains, with a battery back-up, or battery operated only. The two main types of smoke alarms are photoelectric and ionisation alarms. Both are effective for detecting fires although the photoelectric smoke alarm is more effective for detecting smoke from smouldering fires. Most homes have ionisation alarms installed, however fire authorities recommend photoelectric smoke alarms be installed in bedroom and hallways.

Installing a smoke alarm... Location of smoke alarms is important. Alarms should be located near bedrooms as you are most vulnerable to fire when sleeping. Interconnecting alarms are important when the house is more than one level or when bedrooms are located in different areas of your house. It is recommended to change your smoke alarms every 10 years. Avoid placing smoke alarms near air conditioners or heaters etc, as the air flow could blow smoke away from the alarm and fail to alert you to a fire. Smoke alarms should be installed on a ceiling. If it is not possible to fit it on a ceiling then it may be fitted on a wall instead. Check the manufacturers instructions to ensure it is suitable for wall mounting. Always install the smoke alarms between 150mm and 300mm below the ceiling line if fitting to a wall.

Evacuation Procedure Plan... Follow escape plan, alert others as you go, always crawl low below smoke, test door handles with back of hand, if handle is hot then do not open it. Close doors as you leave a room to prevent fire from spreading. Do not enter house once outside, meet at the assembly area. Make sure all family members know how to call the fire service.

Fire Blankets Fire blankets are very effective for smothering flames. They can be used to cover a pan of cooking oil on a stove or burning clothes on a child etc. Fire blankets contain instructions on their containers, so read them carefully so you are prepared before you need to use it. If the fire blanket is used to smother a cooking oil fire, then be sure that the blanket does not contact the burning oil, and make sure that the stove is off. Call the fire department and do not attempt to remove the blanket or pot. Fire blankets should only be used once, so be sure to throw the blanket away after use. Fire blankets are best to be located in an easy reach place. Try to place the blanket near your normally used path to exit the kitchen or next to the door etc.

Tsunami Awareness Would you know what to do if a tsunami hit? Tsunamis are a series of waves which are caused in the ocean by earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruption or even meteorite impact. A tsunami can cause mass destruction when it hits coastline. A tsunami wave in the ocean can be over 100km across, they can travel extremely fast and are only about one metre high in the open ocean. As a tsunami wave travels into more shallow water nearer the coast, it begins to slow and grow in height, so even if a tsunami may be barely visible at sea, it may grow to many metres higher near the coast and have a tremendous amount of energy.

When a tsunami finally reaches the coast, it may appear as a rapidly rising or falling tide or a series of waves with maximum height of up to 30 metres. As a tsunami approaches land, the water near shore may move away, exposing the ocean floor. The first wave may often not be the largest, and more waves may arrive at the coast every 10 to 60 minutes. The waves move much faster than a person can run and the danger can last for several hours after the arrival of the first wave. Unlike normal waves, tsunami waves typically do not curl and break, coasts affected by a tsunami will be severely eroded and flooded up to hundreds of metres inland, the water moves with such force that it is capable of crushing homes and other buildings.

How is a tsunami detected?

Emergency procedure

Underseas earthquakes cause disturbance to both the sea floor and the body of ocean above it. Seismic waves travel a lot faster than tsunami waves away from the earthquake source. Networks of seismic monitoring stations detect earthquakes and then they any resulting tsunamis are verified by sea-level monitoring stations and deep ocean detection buoys.

Seismic monitoring stations are able to determine the depth and location of earthquakes that have the potential to cause a tsunami. The deep-ocean detection buoys and sea-level gauges measure any abnormal changes in sea level to verify if a tsunami has been generated.

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Tsunami detection buoys Typical tsunami buoy systems comprise two components, the pressure sensor which is anchored on the sea floor and the surface buoy. The pressure sensor measures change in height of the water above by measuring any changes in the water pressure. This height is then communicated to the surface buoy and then sent via satellite to the tsunami warning centre. The system runs on two modes, ‘standard’ and ‘event’. Generally the system runs in ‘standard’ mode, where it collects level information and reports back to the warning centre on set intervals (i.e. every 15 minutes). By doing this it saves battery life and extends the deployment life. As soon as the pressure sensor detects faster moving seismic waves the buoy will be triggered into event mode and begins reporting sea level information at one minute intervals to ensure rapid verification of any possible existence of a tsunami.

Preparation for a tsunami If you happen to live near the coast where an earthquake hits, you may only be minutes away from experiencing a tsunami. It is important to take immediate action, waiting for any warning is not realistic. Look for signs of a tsunami, generally the water will recede far back and look inactive. Waves will be very small and barely make it up to the beach, boats are likely to bob up and down. It is important to not stand and spectate as tsunamis come in very fast once they hit the shore and are impossible to outrun and leave devastating effect. Even if you cannot see signs it’s better to be cautious and move to higher ground.

If you are sure there is a threat of a tsunami, immediately inform surrounding people of the threat and evacuate all beaches and near the shore without hesitation. Move away from the water to higher ground as quickly and safely as possible. If there are buildings near then move to the top floor or get as far from the beach as possible. Once you are in a safe position, tune into the TV/radio for more information from the Australian Tsunami Warning Centre. If it is possible to carry out instructions from the Australian Tsunami Warning Centre then do so. Depending on the location of the cause for the tsunami then you may have time to act on any instructions. If you are on a boat or vessel at the time, then move your vessel out to deeper waters to avoid being caught in the tsunami. If weather is severe and you are able to move to land then do so quickly.

If caught in a tsunami It is important to follow the current and not fight against it as tsunamis are very powerful and fighting against it could cause you to potentially drown. Tsunamis cause a lot of damage and destruction to buildings, cars, trees so there are many hazards floating in the water. If it is possible to grab hold of something firmly fixed to the ground like a pole or strong tree then do so. Also try to avoid moving materials if possible. If you are unable to grab hold of something then try to find a floating device to keep you above water and hopefully ensure you a better chance of survival.

Home Security Is your home protected from thieves and vandalism? The safety and protection of our family should always be our number one priority. We know the importance of having our homes secure and safe to keep out intruders and unwanted visitors. But in these modern times crime has increased to alarming proportions due to conflicts with different social classes and ethnic or cultural groups. Evidence shows that homes with no security measures in place are 10 times more likely to be broken into than homes with such simple security measures such as window locks and deadlocks. It is evident that the more secure your property, the less chance your home will be burgled or vandalised. By having your home properly

secured you can save yourself the distress and expense of crime while also making your community a much safer place to live. Burglars don’t need much to make their move. They might only have to spot an open window or open gate to make them target your home. Burglars always look for an easy target and will less likely be attracted to your home if it is properly secured. There are certain ways that you can lower your chances of theft or vandalism just from taking a few simple steps. This section will help give you some useful advice and tips on how to make your home more secure.

Home Security Tips Activated sensor lights

Sensor lights are a good way to keep your home well lit and deter intruders, also keep trees and shrubs trimmed, especially those near windows and doors, as they can provide cover for intruders.

Avoid advertising your away

If you are away for a day or two or for a longer period, try to keep your home looking as lived-in as possible. Burglars will be attracted to anything that makes the home look empty, like over full letterboxes or bins left out the front of the house.

Don’t advertise possessions

Don’t leave boxes or bags of new valuable items outside that may show thieves what you have inside your home.

List your valuable items

Listing your valuables can help you to identify what has been stolen. You may even photograph antiques and jewellery. Also be sure to keep receipts for your possessions with your list to help insurance claims. You may also engrave your items with your license number, making it more difficult for thieves to sell and can help police identify your goods if they’re recovered.

Beware of the dog

Dogs are a huge deterrent as a barking dog draws attention and can also be a threat to an intruder. A loud or big dog can be a good security investment. Even if you don’t own a dog, putting a ‘Beware of the Dog’ sign on your front gate can be enough to keep unsure intruders out.

Home contents insurance

Check that your home contents insurance policy is current. Make sure that you are insured for the right amount to cover the replacement cost of your valuables at todays prices.

Burglar alarms

Security alarms are proven to be the most effective way to combat thieves. Alarms that are loud and seen from the street are most effective, even better if the alarm is linked to a security service that monitors and responds when the alarm is triggered.

Locking up

Locking doors and windows is vital in keeping your home secure, the more difficult it is for an intruder to enter your home, the less likely you will be burgled. It’s important to get into the habit of locking windows and doors every time you leave the home. Security screen doors are also a good investment as they can provide another obstacle fro intruders and deter them from your home.

Keys outside

Never leave keys outside, burglars know all the hiding spots, this is something they are skilled at so they will know to check for a key under your plant pot or in the letterbox. If you need to leave keys out then leave them with a neighbour or friend instead. Avoid leaving car keys around also as burglars will steal a vehicle if the opportunity presents itself.

Side gate locks

Side gates allow thieves easy access to the back of your house, away and out of sight from the street. Side gates allow thieves easy access to your home, keeping them unseen from the street so having a lock up gate will also lower your chances of being burgled.

Lock sheds & garages

Also keep garden sheds and garages locked always, thieves may not only steal tools but use them to break into your home. Also keep the door between your home and garage locked for extra security.

Graffiti vandalism

Graffiti attacks known as tagging can take less than a minute so prevention is difficult. However there are steps you can take to make your home less likely to be vandalised. Always remove graffiti as quickly as you can to help avoid copy cats or further attacks. Having spare paint handy that matches your home or fence will make it easier for you to paint over any graffiti quickly. Dark colours are also a good deterrent as they are much harder to paint on and less likely to be vandalised. Once again, good lighting or sensor lights help keep offenders away. Some people plant shrubs or climbing plants, making it more difficult for offenders. You can also purchase anti graffiti coatings from large hardware stores.

Water Safety Are you supervising your child properly? Many child drownings happen at home in the family pool. Some children have even drowned while adults were near. It is very important to have swimming pools fenced safely and to always supervise young children when they are near a swimming pool or other water. The 2009 Australian National Drowning Report showed that 32 children under 5 years, and 5 children aged 5 to 9 years lost their lives through drowning. More children die from drowning than from motor vehicle accidents. Drowning can happen if the pool or swimming area si not fenced safely, if the child is too young to be aware of the risks or if there is inadequate supervision. This section will help give you tips and ideas on how to keep your child safe in the water.

A child can drown very quickly and quietly. Water doesn’t have to be much deeper than a few inches for a child to be at risk of drowning. Adult supervision is vital to keeping children safe in the water. Supervising means to always have constant visual contact with your child. You should be within arms reach and be in position to respond quickly if necessary. If you have to leave the pool, then take the child with you. Lack of supervision was the main factor in 70% of toddler drowning deaths. Distracted and indirect supervision has resulted in the loss of many young lives. Never leave other children or siblings to supervise as they are not equipped with the skills to perceive and respond to an emergency situation, so they should never be given this responsibility. Learning first aid is also important as this may save a child’s life.

Swimming Pools Pool owners are responsible for the safety of all people who use the pool. Make sure your pool is securely fenced and the gate is always closed. Make sure there are no nearby objects that children can use to climb over the fence. When children are old enough to swim well, make family rules about pool safety ie: no running around the pool area, no swimming alone. Keep a resuscitation guide near the pool for children. Always supervise children when swimming in the pool.

Toddlers in pools It can be an enjoyable experience to have a young toddler or baby sharing in the family fun in the pool, but it is important that the water is clean and warm enough to be safe. Always watch the toddler closely, being sure to carry them in deeper water and have arm floaties or a blow up tube to keep them above water.

be very dangerous for adults and children if simple safety requirements aren’t followed. Children should always be well supervised by adults when swimming in the ocean, as there are many waves and strong currents that can pull a child underwater. Also though summer beaches can get extra busy and harder for adults to supervise so adults should swim in with children to ensure their safety at all times.

Toddlers in baths

Swim between the flags

Never leave young children alone in the bath, children can slip or fall and be emerged underwater so supervision is very important. Always empty the bath after use. If you have to leave the bathroom at anytime, take the child with you.

Any beach can be dangerous. Always swim between the red and yellow flags. This indicates that the beach is patrolled by lifeguards. Always check regularly that you are swimming in the flags, as currents can drag you out without noticing. If you choose to swim outside the flags you could be putting yourself and others in danger. If a beach is not patrolled then remember to check that it is okay to swim, never swim alone and obey all water safety signs.

Rivers & lakes When swimming in rivers and lakes always be cautious of any safety hazards. Make sure that you are certain of the depth before anyone jumps in, as it can be hard to tell from out of the water. Always watch children as rivers and lakes can be harder to spot a child if they are immersed underwater. Try to watch for slippery rocks and banks as it is easy to slip and cause injury.

Swimming lessons

Understanding rips Rips are strong currents of water running out to sea from the beach. Rips can easily pull swimmers out to sea from shallow water, sometimes even several hundred metres offshore. All types of beach locations have rips, including bays.

Teaching young children to swim is not enough to protect them from drowning but it is important to help the child gain confidence in the water as they grow older. Young children are unable to learn to swim until they are around 5 years old. Some under this age may be able to enjoy and learn some skills but even at 5 a child is not old enough to keep themselves safe in the water. Getting children used to water is an important start to learning swimming and water safety. All children of school age should be taught water safety and how to swim. Even if a child seems like a confident swimmer, they should still always be supervised.

Look out for the following signs of rips: murky brown water caused by sand and seaweed being stirred up from the seabed, foam on the surface extending beyond the breakwaves breaking on both sides of the rip but not inside the rip.

Beach safety

Stay calm, float and attract attention. To escape, swim parallel to the beach. Always conserve energy, waves can assist you back to the beach.

Beaches are a fun place for families to spend a hot summers day to relax, play and swim. Unfortunately the beach can

Rips may look calm and inviting but have extremely powerful currents. You can survive rip currents by knowing your options.

Surviving a rip

Bike Safety Understand the importance of bike safety We all love to bike ride. It’s fun, good exercise and it’s more exciting than walking. It’s also a great way for children to develop judgment and self-confidence, safety skills and lifelong skills. The most important part of having fun bike riding is to learn to do it safely. Parents attitudes on bike safety are important when determining how children will ride for years to come. Parents should work at teaching their child bike safety from the beginning so that they will feel more confident as the children take rides down the road when unsupervised. This section provides you with useful information and safety tips to ensure you and your children stay as safe as possible when bike riding.

Bike helmets

Road rules

Bike helmets are vital to being protected when riding a bike. Like cars, seat belts are mandatory and so are bike helmets. In Australia it is the law to wear a bike helmet when riding a bicycle at all times. It is important that your bike helmet fits you properly and is not too small or too big. Never wear hats under your helmet and if you are unsure if your helmet fits you properly then ask someone at a bike store for advice. Ensure that you always wear your helmet properly, making sure that it is worn level and covers your forehead. Helmet straps should always be fastened and tight enough to keep the helmet from moving loosely.

If riding on the road, then follow these simple road rules to ensure you can be as safe as possible.

Take care of your helmet and avoid throwing it around which could damage it and lower its effectiveness. If you do have a fall and your helmet takes a strong impact, then be sure to get a new one as they lose their effectiveness after a major crash. Many bike helmets are lightweight and have cool colours and designs. You can personalise your helmets with stickers to make it more cool and fun.

Road visibility When riding at night time, cyclists can become quite hard to see by motorists so it is important to have reflectors on your bike. Most bikes come with reflectors attached on the front and back above the wheels and a yellow reflector attached to the spokes on each wheel. It is also a good idea to attach flashing lights to make yourself more noticeable to cars to avoid being accidently hit. Wearing bright clothes also can help to keep you safe, or even wearing reflector vests. Avoid wearing headphones when bike riding as music can distract you from noises around you such as car horns.

Where to ride Children should check with parents where and how far they are allowed to ride their bike. It is recommended that kids younger than 10 years should ride on the footpath and avoid the roads. No matter where you are riding, it is always important to look out for cars and trucks at all times, even when on footpaths, as cars can pull out of driveways into the path of your bike. Be extra cautious when crossing busy roads. Bike paths are a great choice if there’s one in your area. Always look ahead and be prepared for obstacles such as: wet leaves, big puddles, changes in the road or sidewalk surface, storm grates, gravel or rocks, curbs or children in your path.

Always keep your hands on the handlebars. Always check for traffic from both ways when leaving driveways, alleys or curbs. Cross at road intersections. Walk your bike across busy intersections. Ride on the left hand side of the road in the same direction as the traffic. Use bike lanes as often as you can. Don’t ride too close to parked cars as doors can open suddenly. Stop at all stop signs and obey traffic lights just as cars do. Avoid riding side by side with friends on roads Always pass bikers to their left side. Wear helmet and visibility protection at all times.

Hand signals Learning the basic hand signals can help cars, trucks and other bikers know what you will do next and lower the chances of being hit due to confusion.

Road Safety What bad driving habits do you have? Every death on our roads is a major tragedy causing enormous emotional pain and grief to family and friends. Even more distressing is the fact that many of those killed are young people. Statistics show that road users between 17 and 24 years of age make up just 15 per cent of the Australian population, but they account for around one-third of road deaths.

Our roads can get extremely busy and careful driving is the key to staying safe on the road. Speeding, drink driving, fatigue and failing to wear a seat belt puts many drivers at risk. Drivers with poor merging skills, tailgating habits, in-car distractions such as phones and entertainment systems and even driver frustration levels are big contributors to accidents in Australia.

Research also tells us that lack of driving experience is a major factor in crashes involving young people. That is why the process for obtaining a driving licence has such a focus on practical experience. The loss of life and the cost to the community are unnecessary burdens that can be reduced with greater care and more responsible behaviour by all drivers, both young and old.

Unsafe driving is not tolerated on our roads and drivers disobeying the law will be prosecuted and fined. Not only is dangerous driving putting yourself at risk, but also other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. This section will help give some important safety tips and help you be more aware of the importance of road safety.

Road safety information Seatbelts Seatbelts are very important as they are designed to keep you fastened to your seat in case of an accident and they save many lives. It is very important to wear a seatbelt, as it is the law and is a vital safety requirement. Make sure everyone understands they need to be on at all times you are seated in the vehicle and know how to fit them correctly. There should be no slack in the belt and no twists. If you have an older car, it pay to have them checked and they are not expensive to change.

Alcohol The legal blood alcohol level for motor vehicle drivers with an open drivers licence is 0.05% (BAC) although the safest level is zero. Drivers influenced by alcohol over the legal limit can be extremely dangerous and can cause harm to themselves and others. If caught over the legal driving limit by police, you may risk heavy fines and even loss of licence. Police are concerned for the safety of other drivers and for this reason they will show no tolerance to drink drivers.

Stopping distances Be aware of stopping distances and always leave enough of a gap between you and the vehicle on front. Older cars need more room as they take longer to stop.

Speeding Roads have speed limits for a reason. These speeds are determined by the type of road, including surface and bends. Never exceed speed limits as this can be very dangerous, many road deaths are resulted from speeding. When you are heading to a destination, try and give yourself plenty of time so that you do not speed to try to arrive on time, not only is speeding illegal, it can be life threatening.

Mobile Phones Using mobile phones while driving is extremely dangerous yet so many drivers ignore the risk and continue to do it. Not only is it illegal to drive while using a mobile phone, but it si also very distracting and a driver’s focus is reduced dramatically. If caught driving while using a mobile phone, you will be heavily fined and risk losing your licence. If you need to use your phone for any reason, then pull over on to the side of the road and park your car first.

Pedestrians Always give way to pedestrians. It’s the law and unsafe driving or lack of visibility could cause serious consequences.

Fatigue Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of serious accidents. If you have had a late night, get plenty of rest before driving. Fatigue effects your decision making and ability to control a vehicle. If you are tired then stop and rest.

International Drivers Australians drive on the left hand side of the road and it is the law to wear a seatbelt at all times when driving. International visitors must have a drivers licence and an additional international drivers licence to hire vehicles.

Driving with Pets Make sure your pets are behind a suitable pet/cargo barrier and if possible have a suitable pet harness on. At no times should they be free to move around the vehicle as they can cause a distraction for the driver.

Towing Make sure your trailer/caravan is connected properly and all signal lights work. Also ensure that you have good visibility and if necessary use extended side mirrors.

Travelling with children It is your responsibility to make sure any children are wearing seatbelts and sitting correctly. You may also occupy them with activities to keep them entertained while you focus on the road. These simple steps will keep you and your family safe. Make the decision now to be a safe driver and make every trip enjoyable and safe.

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