Exploring Flood Response Challenges, Training Needs, and the Impact of Online Flood Training for Lifeguards and Water Safety Professionals in South Africa

Article


Peden, Amy E., Mayhew, Adrian, Baker, Shayne D., Mayedwa, Mziwoxolo and Saunders, Colleen J.. 2023. "Exploring Flood Response Challenges, Training Needs, and the Impact of Online Flood Training for Lifeguards and Water Safety Professionals in South Africa ." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 20. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20166573
Article Title

Exploring Flood Response Challenges, Training Needs, and the Impact of Online Flood Training for Lifeguards and Water Safety Professionals in South Africa

ERA Journal ID44293
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsPeden, Amy E., Mayhew, Adrian, Baker, Shayne D., Mayedwa, Mziwoxolo and Saunders, Colleen J.
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Journal Citation20
Number of Pages13
Year2023
PublisherMDPI AG
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISSN1660-4601
1661-7827
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20166573
Web Address (URL)https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/16/6573
Abstract

Flooding is a significant cause of human and economic loss in the African region, including in South Africa. Flood mitigation and response in South Africa is challenging due to a range of environmental, infrastructure, and policy constraints. Lifeguards represent a potential additional workforce to bolster flood mitigation and response. This study aimed to explore the feasibility and acceptability of online flood safety training for water safety professionals in South Africa, as well as assess the current flood response capacity and future needs of this group. Online surveys were completed by a convenience sample of South African water safety professionals (including lifeguards) pre-and post a series of four online flood training workshops. Free text responses were thematically coded and flood knowledge was compared between the pre-and post-workshop survey respondents. Sixty-eight responses were analysed (64.7% pre-workshop phase; 63.2% male, 29.4% aged 50–59 years). A range of challenges in flood mitigation and response were identified including equipment, training, and a lack of government support. However, positives were also identified including respondents’ willingness to assist in flood emergencies and good cooperation with neighbouring countries and across the region. Opportunities for better cross-municipal and government communication were discussed. In times of crisis, or in resource poor settings, water safety professionals can bolster traditional flood mitigation and response capacity. Opportunities exist to harness this willingness, but also improve cross-governmental and municipal knowledge sharing to improve future flood mitigation and response efforts in South Africa.

Keywordsdrowning; disaster; risk reduction; emergency response; safety; injury; education; emergency; first responder; interoperability
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 20204206. Public health
Byline AffiliationsUniversity of New South Wales
James Cook University
Surf Life Saving Great Britain, United Kingdom
International Life Saving Federation, Belgium
School of Education
University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Lifesaving South Africa, South Africa
University of Cape Town, South Africa
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