2019 – Evidence Based Procedure for Estimating Itinerant Loss of Life

Tim Rhodes

Loss of life estimates in dam breach circumstances are a key determining input in establishing the appropriate risk profile for these assets. They can also be useful in identifying the most effective emergency management responses. While there are a range of approaches described in the literature for assessing loss of life for concentrated population centres, there is little specific guidance on approaches to be taken when there is only a small number of properties or where itinerant loss of life has the potential to be the dominant risk element. Itinerants are most commonly considered to be road users, although, they can alternatively be any temporary users of the floodplain. The literature on flood fatalities indicates that the largest number of deaths occurs at vehicle crossings or otherwise when individuals voluntarily enter waterways. An approach has been developed for identifying the cases where itinerant loss of life has the potential to be the dominant vector for flood fatalities. In addition, the available flood fatality literature and associated databases have been reviewed to establish the precursors to fatalities.

A simple stepped procedure is presented which allows the user to identify cases where itinerant risk to life on roads should be considered with a separate procedure and a method presented by which itinerant life loss may be identified.


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