General News

Farm Water Safety Not Just About Avoiding Floods

With flooding wreaking havoc on properties across Australia, the immediate risks from flood water are not the only drowning risk on farms, Royal Life Saving Society – Australia has warned.

New analysis has shown dams, ponds and irrigation channels pose a significant risk for drowning, with an average of 168 people losing their lives to drowning in regional and remote areas of Australia each year.

Royal Life Saving’s National Manager – Research & Policy, Stacey Pidgeon said Farm Safety Week was the ideal time for people living on, working and visiting farms and other properties to think about the risk factors particular to their location.

“People are aware of the risks posed by flooding and tend to take precautions when floods are peaking, or during the cleaning up period, but they forget the everyday risks,” Ms Pidgeon said.

“Swimming pools can be fenced, but it’s not that easy when you’ve got irrigation channels, dams, or ponds.  However there are some low or no cost safety precautions that people can take on their farms to reduce the risk of drowning.

“If you have young children, having an enclosed child safe play area close to the house so they can’t wander off is important. Put up close the gate signs as that visual prompt to make sure visitors don’t accidentally leave an access way open.

“If you need to do some work near an irrigation channel, pond, or dam, don’t go alone. If something unexpected happens and you fall into the water having someone who can respond straight away can literally be the difference between life and death.

“Don’t go for a swim alone. With all the wet weather that we’ve had across Australia, erosion has changed the conditions and previously safe swimming places might no longer be suitable.”

In the 19 years between 1 July 2002 to 30 June 2021, 60 per cent of all drowning deaths in Australia occurred in regional and remote areas of Australia.

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