If there is a life-threatening or time-critical emergency, telephone triple zero (000). It is the quickest way to get help from either the police, fire brigade or ambulance service. Calls to triple zero (000) are free and can be made from fixed line phones, mobile phones and public pay phones.
For help in situations of floods, severe storms and earthquakes, telephone the SES (State Emergency Service) on 132 500.
For emergency help with poisonings and suspected poisonings, telephone the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.
A handy general portal for safety and emergency information is available from the Safety Victoria web site.
Crime incidents that don't require immediate police attendance should be reported to your local police station.
If you have information about a crime, contact Crime Stoppers Victoria or phone 1800 333 000. Reports can be made anonymously (by phone or online) and will be sent to the appropriate police department.
The Victorian countryside is prone to bushfires during the warmer months of the year, particularly on days of extreme heat, low humidity and strong wind. Such conditions often result in the declaration of days of total fire ban which prohibits the lighting of fires in the open air and other activities that could cause a fire to spread.
For current bushfire warnings and information:
- Listen to ABC Local Radio which broadcasts emergency warnings (a number of commercial radio stations in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria also broadcast warnings)
- Telephone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667
- Visit the Vic Emergency website.
Weather conditionsVictoria's weather can be quite changeable. Before planning outdoor activities, it is worthwhile to check for any relevant weather warnings. See the Bureau of Meteorology's Victorian Weather & Warnings which has current information and forecasts for extreme weather conditions including strong winds, floods and storms.
Water quality at bay beaches around Port Phillip are monitored for bacteria levels which may make them unsuitable for swimming. Bacteria levels may increase if heavy rains wash pollutants into the bay through drains and waterways. Consult the EPA Beach Report for latest reports and forecasts between November and March.
For information about water quality in the Yarra River, consult Melbourne Water and EPA Yarra Watch for latest reports and forecasts between December and March.
Victoria has only a few animals that may be of danger to people, and the risk they pose is reasonably low.
This native bird, loved by many, is common throughout Victoria, especially in suburban areas and farmland. During their breeding season from August to October, a very small number of these birds may regard people as a threat to their eggs or young and swoop upon those who pass by close to their nest. These swooping actions are usually just a bluff to scare people away, however on rare occasions particularly aggressive magpies can make physical contact and cause injuries with their beak or claws. Try to avoid areas magpies are known to swoop in, otherwise wear a hat or use an umbrella for protection. Swooping magpies will generally not target people in a group or if you are facing them.
Kangaroos are usually shy animals by nature and in normal circumstances present no threat to people. However in certain situations if they feel threatened or are cornered, they may stand upright to defend themselves using their sharp claws and powerful hind legs.
Within Victorian waters there are several species of sharks that are known to be dangerous to humans, however attacks are rare. To minimise the risk of attack, swim at patrolled beaches or protected swimming areas, don't swim at night, and avoid swimming in deep waters or areas where dangerous sharks are known to congregate.
A number of venomous snake varieties are found in Victoria including the tiger, copperhead, brown and red-bellied black snake. While seeing a snake may be an intimidating experience, they are typically shy creatures and most will try to avoid confrontation with humans. Most bites tend to occur if people attempt to catch, kill, corner, startle or accidentally stand on one of them. If bitten by a snake, call an ambulance and try to stay calm. In order to slow down the flow of venom, apply a pressure bandage (improvise if required) over the bite and up the limb, then remain as still as possible. Depending on the species of snake and the circumstances that resulted in the bite, it is estimated that around a quarter to half of all people bitten receive only "dry bites", with no venom being injected. However, you should never assume that you've received a dry bite - always seek medical attention.
The redback spider and white-tailed spider live throughout Victoria. Outdoors, they may typically be found in sheltered areas such as under logs and rocks. They can are also found in urban environments, such as inside buildings. A redback spider bite is poisonous and anyone bitten should seek medical attention. While not as poisonous, the white-tailed spider is known to cause localised pain and swelling, however in a small number of cases, there may be more severe symptoms.