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Rosebery, Australia

Harvey L.A.,University of New South Wales | Barr M.L.,Center for Epidemiology and Research | Poulos R.G.,University of New South Wales | Finch C.F.,Monash University | And 2 more authors.
Medical Journal of Australia | Year: 2011

Objective: To determine the current level of knowledge of first aid for a burn injury and sources of this knowledge among the general population of New South Wales. Design, setting and participants: People aged 16 years or older were interviewed as part of the 2007 NSW Population Health Survey, a continuous telephone survey of NSW residents. Main outcome measure: Weighted proportion of the population with optimal first aid knowledge for burns. Results: In total, 7320 respondents were asked questions related to burn injuries and first aid. Of the surveyed population, 82% reported that they would cool a burn with water, and 9% reported that they would cool the burn for the recommended 20 minutes. Few respondents reported that they would remove the patient's clothing and keep the injured person warm. The most common sources of first aid information were a first aid book (42%) and the internet (33%). Speaking a language other than English at home, and being over 65 years of age were associated with a lack of first aid knowledge. Conclusions: A minority of people living in NSW know the optimal time for cooling a burn injury and other appropriate first aid steps for burns. This study demonstrates a gap in the public's knowledge, especially among non-English speaking people and older people, and highlights the need for a clear, consistent first aid message.

Harvey L.A.,University of New South Wales | Poulos R.G.,University of New South Wales | Sherker S.,Surf Life Saving Australia
Journal of Burn Care and Research | Year: 2013

In 2006, New South Wales (NSW) state legislation changed from requiring smoke alarms in new houses only to all houses. We evaluated the impact of this legislative change on residential fire injury and smoke alarm ownership characteristics. Residential fire injuries for 2002 to 2010 were identified from hospitalization data for all hospitals in NSW. Data relating to smoke alarm ownership and demographic factors were obtained from the NSW Population Health Survey. Negative binomial regression analysis was used to analyze trends over time. Prior to the introduction of universal legislation, hospitalization rates were increasing slightly; however, following the introduction of legislation, hospitalization rates decreased by an estimated 36.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 16.7-55.8) annually. Smoke alarm ownership increased from 73.3% (95% CI, 72.5-74.2) prelegislation to 93.6% (95% CI, 93.1-94.2) 18 months postlegislation. Thirty percent of households reported testing their alarms regularly. Speaking a language other than English (relative risks [RRs], 1.82; 95% CI, 1.44-2.99), allowing smoking in the home (RR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.31-2.27), and being part of the most disadvantaged socioeconomic group (RR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.14-1.91) remain major risk factors for nonownership. Broadening the scope of state legislation has had a positive impact on residential fire-related hospitalizations and smoke alarm ownership. However, it is of concern that the legislation has been the least effective in increasing smoke alarm ownership among non-English-speaking households, in households where smoking is allowed, in low socioeconomic households, and that a high proportion of householders do not test their smoke alarms regularly. Targeted campaigns are needed to reach these high-risk groups and to ensure that smoke alarms are functional. Copyright © 2013 by the American Burn Association.

Van Leeuwen B.R.,University of New South Wales | McCarroll R.J.,University of Sydney | Brander R.W.,University of New South Wales | Turner I.L.,University of New South Wales | And 2 more authors.
Natural Hazards | Year: 2016

Rip currents are a significant hazard on global surf beaches and are a factor in hundreds of drowning fatalities each year. Contemporary rip current safety information often idealises rip currents as part of a Transverse Bar Rip (TBR) morphology with rip channels bound by shallow, shore-connected bars. Real-world conditions frequently differ from this model, with potential implications for rip current escape strategies promoted to, and undertaken by, the general public. This study describes outcomes of rip current escape strategies conducted at North Cronulla Beach, NSW, Australia, over two distinct morphologies; a mixed Low Tide Terrace/Transverse Bar Rip (LTT/TBR) and a Rhythmic Bar Beach (RBB) system lacking shore-connected bars. Swimmers attempted to escape by adopting one of three pre-determined strategies: Stay Afloat, Swim Parallel and Swim Onshore. A total of 100 escape attempts were conducted, with the RBB system experiencing longer duration (t¯ = 2.4 min) escapes than the LTT system (t¯ = 0.8 min). The RBB system was associated with a higher rate of action failure, particularly for Stay Afloat, due to a lack of shore connectivity of adjacent bars. Swim Parallel was of lower duration (t¯RIP1 = 0.66, t¯RIP2 = 2.68 min) in both systems, but durations and distances to safety in the RBB system often exceeded swimming abilities of weaker bathers. Although Swim Onshore was more successful (t¯RIP1 = 0.22, t¯RIP2 = 1.65 min) than Swim Parallel, promotion of such a strategy is strongly discouraged in conventional safety advice. Results suggest that contemporary rip current escape strategies may be inappropriate in non-TBR rip current systems and that alternative strategies should be considered, including Swim Onshore and a greater focus on preventative strategies, particularly in relation to bathers with limited swimming ability. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

Shaw W.S.,University of New South Wales | Goff J.,University of New South Wales | Brander R.,University of New South Wales | Walton T.,University of New South Wales | And 2 more authors.
Applied Geography | Year: 2014

Rip currents are a major cause of drowning on surf beaches worldwide. This article highlights the efficacy of integrating physical and human geographical research approaches with the aim of improving our understanding of the problem presented by rip currents, to people. Coastal geomorphologists working in the field of rip current science have identified the need to bring social science research approaches to the rip current hazard. Geography is a discipline well placed for the task of collaboration between the sciences and social sciences. Although the discipline of geography generally operates along a divide between physical and human sciences more integrative approaches to research problems have begun to gain traction. This article provides an overview of the evolution of rip current science through engagement with physical, and more recently, social sciences. It also demonstrates the emergence of an iterative research process within our research collaboration. This provided unforetold opportunities of cooperation and integration that were revealed as part of the evolution of a highly specialised research endeavour. © 2014.

Brander R.,University of New South Wales | Dominey-Howes D.,University of Sydney | Champion C.,University of New South Wales | Del Vecchio O.,University of New South Wales | Brighton B.,Surf Life Saving Australia
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences | Year: 2013

Rip currents are strong, narrow offshore flows of water which occur on many of the world's beaches and represent a serious hazard to bathers. In Australia, rip currents account for an average of 21 confirmed human fatalities per year. Based on an analysis of the longest existing data records, rip currents account for more human fatalities in Australia on average each year than bushfires, floods, and cyclones combined. This finding raises important questions regarding the levels of attention placed on the low intensity, but high frequency rip current hazard in relation to high profile and episodic natural hazards. © Author(s) 2013.

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