Experiences, beliefs, and attitudes of lifeguards from Australia and the United Kingdom toward lifeguard involvement in flood mitigation and response

Article


Peden, Amy E., Mayhew, Adrian and Baker, Shayne D.. 2022. "Experiences, beliefs, and attitudes of lifeguards from Australia and the United Kingdom toward lifeguard involvement in flood mitigation and response." International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 76, pp. 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.103013
Article Title

Experiences, beliefs, and attitudes of lifeguards from Australia and the United Kingdom toward lifeguard involvement in flood mitigation and response

ERA Journal ID200723
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsPeden, Amy E. (Author), Mayhew, Adrian (Author) and Baker, Shayne D. (Author)
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Journal Citation76, pp. 1-8
Article Number103013
Number of Pages8
Year2022
PublisherElsevier
Place of PublicationNetherlands
ISSN2212-4209
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2022.103013
Web Address (URL)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420922002321
Abstract

Introduction: Flooding causes significant mortality and morbidity, with impacts expected to increase with climate change. Ensuring adequate country-level flood mitigation and response capacity is key. Lifeguards, traditionally used for drowning prevention, may represent an additional workforce for flood emergency response. Methods: Through an anonymous, online survey, we explored experiences, beliefs, and attitudes of a convenience sample of surf lifeguards from Australia and England towards lifeguards’ involvement in flood response. Respondents were recruited via Surf Life Saving Australia and Great Britain and had prior training in flood rescue. Analysis comprised descriptive statistics and thematic coding of free-text responses. Results: Forty-four responses were received (93.2% male, 34.1% aged 50–59 years; 61.4% from Australia; 61.4% with ≥16 years lifesaving experience). Twenty-nine respondents (65.9%) self-reported having previously responded to flooding, 15 of which responded prior to receiving flood training. Lifeguards commonly reported being involved in the flood response phase (n = 28). Respondents identified rescue skills (n = 43; 97.7%), awareness of water conditions (n = 40; 90.9%), and radio communication protocols (n = 40; 90.9%) as relevant in a flood scenario. Respondents broadly agreed lifeguards were an asset in flood response due to transferrable skills, including to bolster existing capacity. However, respondents noted need for greater recognition, for involvement earlier in flood response and for flood-specific training and equipment prior to deployment. Discussion & Conclusions: Lifeguards represent a willing and able workforce to support flood mitigation and response, some of whom are already being tasked with such work. Provision of flood-specific training and equipment are vital, as is addressing interoperability tensions.

KeywordsEducation; Training; Drowning; Emergency; First responder; Interoperability
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020420604. Injury prevention
399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
420699. Public health not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of New South Wales
Surf Life Saving Great Britain, United Kingdom
School of Education
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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