Table 2

Descriptors for drowning risk, hazard, vulnerability and exposure

Drowning riskDrowning risk is the consequence of the interaction between a hazard and the characteristics that make people vulnerable to drowning and their exposure (context, frequency of occurrence, duration) to a drowning hazard.See below
Drowning hazardA drowning hazard is an environmental or human induced feature or process that contributes to drowning risk.
  • Environmental features include oceans, rivers, lakes and beaches.

  • Environmental processes include tropical storms, floods, tsunami, heatwaves, currents, waves steep or slippery banks

  • Human induced processes and features in the built environment or flaws in technological design, for example, modes of transportation, swimming pools, bathtubs and structurally deficient dams.

Drowning exposureDrowning exposure is the context, frequency of occurrence and duration for which an individual, community or population interacts with a specific drowning hazard.
  • Exposure can be influenced by social, economic and environmental factors, including occupational, recreational or everyday living contexts.

Drowning vulnerabilityDrowning vulnerability is the susceptibility to drowning of an individual, a community or population.
  • Vulnerability is best measured in layers and can be based on a range of physical, social, economic and environmental factors.

  • For example, age, residential status, access to education and health services.

Drowning resilienceDrowning resilience is the adaptive and robust capacity of an individual, community or system to avoid, reduce or respond to drowning risk.
  • Individual-level resilience might include the development of swimming and basic rescue skills.

  • Community-level resilience might include the availability of safe places to swim, or the presence of a lifeguard service.

  • System-level resilience might include pool fencing legislation, safety standards or a code of practice for waterways and swimming pools, or enforced lifejacket laws.