Plea for Queenslanders to stay out of floodwaters

FIREFIGHTERS are once again pleading with Queenslanders to stay out of floodwaters and not chance it when the storms come this summer.

Police, Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey said the message aligned with a key election commitment to revitalise frontline emergency services, to keep Queenslanders safe.

"Each year Queensland firefighters rescue more people from floodwaters than burning buildings," Mr Dempsey said.

"Last summer, QFES swift water rescue technicians were called to more than 125 cases of residents entering floodwaters by foot or vehicle.

"In many cases, the person had willingly entered the water believing that it was not a risk.

"You are not only gambling with your own life, but the lives of those with you and your rescuers."

Mr Dempsey said the government was also making it easier for firefighters to do their job after the burden placed on them by Labor.

"Under the previous Government, mountains of paperwork meant firefighters were often tied to the desk instead of out on the frontline," he said.

"In the past 18 months, the Newman Government has worked to streamline processes to ensure firefighters are out doing what they do best, keeping Queensland communities safe.

"We want them on the frontline, but not needing to rescue people from floodwaters."

QFES Commissioner Lee Johnson said short-lived convenience was not worth losing your life over.

"Even for professional swift water technicians, entering flood waters is dangerous," Mr Johnson said.

"That's why it's important that residents heed warnings and avoid flooded areas. Your safety is your responsibility.

"While flash flooding can occur quickly and catch motorists or pedestrians off guard, in most cases swift water rescues are preventable."

Mr Johnson said there was no excuse for residents who ignored warnings and entered floodwaters.

"Don't think that because you are familiar with your area you will be able to cross flooded roads safely," he said.

"Floodwater can be deceptive, swift-moving and hide debris that may damage your car."

RACQ executive manager Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said it was important for motorists to use caution in wet conditions.

"The message - if it's flooded, forget it - is so simple and so relevant, regardless of whether you own a small car or a 4WD," Mr Spalding said.

"Water can be very powerful. We've all seen what it can do to cars, so if you come across a flooded road you must find an alternative route.

"Even shallow water, if it is flowing, can sweep a vehicle off the road."

RACQ suggests motorists should check road conditions before they start their journey and, depending on the severity of the weather, consider putting off their travel until conditions return to normal.

Motorists can check road conditions either by phoning the RACQ road condition hotline on 1300 130 595 or by checking road conditions on the club's website.