The title of this section, safety and survival skills, sounds a little dramatic really. However, living and working in a remote or rural setting is likely to be quite different from metropolitan or urban settings, and with these differences come some specific safety concerns.
Travel in remote and rural areas is a particular safety concern. We have identified some skill and knowledge areas that may make your transition into, and experience within, remote or rural communities a lot safer.
It is likely that the roads you are travelling on are unfamiliar roads, as are many of the places you will be travelling to. Particularly in remote areas many of the roads may be unsealed, in poor condition, and subject to flooding. Wildlife on remote and rural roads also add to the potential hazards. Depending on where you are working, you may encounter kangaroos, wombats, emus, snakes, stray cattle and any number of other animals. Extreme weather, including cyclones, flooding, extreme heat and other severe weather conditions can also present additional safety concerns.
If you are moving to an unfamiliar environment take the time to develop some local knowledge. Find out about the weather, geography, safe practice protocols, and any other safety issues. If you are travelling outside the community: get good directions, take a map, find out what emergency procedures are in place, and check weather conditions. Make sure you take the appropriate equipment: water, emergency contact details, a satellite phone if available, spare tyre. Don't be blasé about your safety, don't take unnecessary risks or be caught unprepared.
If your role involves the provision of outreach services or travelling find out if your organisation has policies or guidelines for safe travel or visiting. If so review these documents and adhere to them in your provision of services. Also find out if your organisation has emergency protocols, these will cover what you should do in an emergency situation such as in the event of a cyclone.
There are some formal training options to increase your ability to manage your safety. If you are frequently driving off road, look in to an advanced driving or 4x4 driving course. An emergency first aid course may also be appropriate. Some workplaces will provide this training, or fund you to undertake it with other providers. Speak to your manager about how you can access appropriate safety training for your role.
Safety & Survival Skills, & You
The particular skills you will need will depend on where you are working and your role. Think about the safety skills you need in your role. What training you have had to develop these skills, and what other training is necessary? Think about:
- Does your organisation have policies or guidelines for safe travel?
- Does your organisation have policies or guidelines visiting?
- Does your organisation have emergency protocols?
- Do you require advanced driving training?