This paper examines the circumstances in which a ‘shelter-in-place’ strategy may be a viable alternative to evacuation during
flash floods. While evacuation remains the dominant strategy for a range of hazards, a review of the literature suggests
growing awareness of the dangers associated with late evacuations and some limited consideration of shelter-in-place options.
This study examines the feasibility of a shelter-in-place strategy for flash floods in Australia through: a review of literatures on
evacuation, ‘sheltering-in-place’ and flood fatalities; an analysis of Australian flash flood fatalities and injuries; and interviews
with flood and emergency managers. The results demonstrate that the majority of flash flood fatalities (75.7 per cent) have
occurred outside when people have entered flood waters in a vehicle or on foot for a range of reasons, including to continue their
intended travel, engage in recreational pursuits, continue their work, and evacuate or carry out a rescue. Interviews with
emergency managers confirm that while shelter-in-place may not be the preferred option, the strategy may need to be
implemented for flash floods when, due to the limited warning times, evacuation is not possible.