Personal Safety

Safety in the City

Melbourne is one of the safest cities in the world in which to live, work and study.

However, you should use common sense in getting around: ask locals and friends about places they might avoid, especially at night.

Problems with alcohol and violence do occur in Melbourne, as in many big cities around the world. If you are new to Melbourne it is best to keep out of harm’s way, by avoiding pubs and clubs, especially late at night.

Take extra care in isolated areas. Walk in well-lit areas and avoid taking shortcuts through parks and dark streets when travelling alone at night.

Avoid wearing headphones when walking or jogging alone, especially at night – they can limit your awareness of traffic or other dangers.

Do not hitchhike, and if you’re driving, never pick up hitchhikers.

On trains at night, travel in the front carriage, closest to the driver, and try to be in a carriage with other people. While waiting for public transport, stay in well-lit areas, and try to familiarise yourself with timetables so you are not waiting a long time at night.

Never walk and talk on the phone at the same time on a lonely road.

And remember the police cannot do anything to help if they are not notified of an incident.

Your City - Your Space

Your City: Your Space – making your city safer

Only you know how you want your city to be. Tell each other and tell the City of Melbourne. We’ll listen and we’ll work with you.

In an Emergency

When there is a crime taking place or life is in danger, telephone Triple Zero (000). You will be asked to choose police, fire or ambulance. You can also call 112 from your cell phone.

It is a free-call, 24-hour service.

You’ll be asked to state the service you require (police, fire or ambulance).

You’ll then be connected to an operator who will ask you questions including your location and telephone number.

If you need an interpreter, it is preferable if you are able to say in English which language you need.

The National Relay Service provides telecommunication services for people who are deaf or have a speech or hearing impairment and use a TTY. The emergency number to call from a TTY is 106.

Victoria Police

Victoria Police provides a 24 hour police service to the Victorian community. Victoria Police contributes to a high quality of life for individuals in the community by ensuring a safe and secure society and underpins the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of Victoria.

Victoria Police is a large organisation employing more than 13,800 people, including police, public servants and protective security officers, serving Victoria, with a population in excess of five million. With 339 police stations and other facilities, Victoria Police provides support to the community 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Call your local police station if you are not in a life-threatening or time-critical emergency.

Safety at Home

Smoke Alarms

Victorian law states that smoke alarms must be installed in all homes, units, flats and townhouses. In campus accommodation or rooming houses, you should have a smoke alarm in your room.

It’s your landlord’s responsibility to install working smoke alarms. But it is up to you as a tenant, to keep them in working order.

Every month, test your alarm by pressing the test button (you can use a broom handle for this). Change the batteries regularly once a year.

Don’t deadlock doors at night – make sure you can get out easily if a fire starts.

Are there enough electrical power points to plug in your appliances without overloading powerboards?
Do the heaters operate correctly?
Does the oven and stove operate correctly?
If a fire breaks out while you’re cooking with oil, never use water to put it out. Instead, use a dry powder extinguisher, a fire blanket or a saucepan lid.
Don’t go to sleep or leave the room when a candle or oil burner is alight.
Turn off all heaters before you leave your room or go to bed.
Computers, monitors and TVs can overheat and cause fires even on standby. Turn them off after each session at the set, not just with the remote control.


If You Suffer a Burn

If the burn is large, or you or the victim is having trouble breathing, call emergency on 000.

Cool the burnt area for at least 20 minutes under cold running tap water (never use ice or ice cold water). This is effective even three hours after a burn, though the sooner you start, the better.

Do not put any creams or other treatments on the burns until they have been seen by a doctor.


Safety at the Beach

Victoria’s beaches are a great source of recreation. It’s best to swim at beaches that are patrolled by lifesavers.

Prepare for a day at the beach with sunscreen, hat and remember that prolonged exposure to the Australian summer sun can result in medical problems including heatstroke and painful sunburn.

Never swim alone. Swim between the red and yellow flags.

A raised arm is a signal for help. The most common cause of beach drowning is a ‘rip’ – a very strong current of water running out to sea.

Surf Lifesaving Victoria has information on how to identify a rip:

  • A darker colour, indicating deeper water
  • A calm rippled surface, generally with smaller waves
  • Debris or foam floating on the surface out to sea.

If you make a mistake and get caught in a rip, you can survive if you obey the three Rs:

  • RELAX: stay calm, and float with the current. Swim across it, not against it.
  • RAISE: raise an arm to signal for help.
  • RESCUE: float and wait for assistance.


Safety Around Animals and Insects

Australia has a vast array of dangerous animals, many in the country’s north. Victoria has its share of poisonous marine life, snakes and insects.

Contact the Victorian Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26. Or see their website for detailed factsheets.

If you have been bitten or stung inside the mouth or throat by an insect, call emergency on 000.


Snakes and Spiders

Snakes can be found not just in the bush but also along rivers and creeks in metropolitan areas. Here are some commonsense precautions:

  • Leave snakes and spiders alone
  • Wear adequate clothing and sturdy shoes (not sandals/thongs) in 'snake country'
  • Never put your hands in hollow logs or thick grass without looking first
  • When stepping over logs, carefully inspect the ground on the other side



Jellyfish in Victorian waters rarely cause serious illness but can cause severe pain.

The blue-ringed octopus is found in all Australian coastal waters. Their bite is highly venomous. They usually do not bite or display their characteristic blue rings until they are disturbed. Keep the victim still and call 000.


Safety in the Bush

Victoria has a great variety of spectacular walking tracks and national parks. Enjoy them but always be prepared. Tell someone where you are going and when you are expected back. Carry a mobile phone and make sure the battery is charged. Wear appropriate clothing, especially in winter in the snow. Do not leave the marked tracks. If you are lost, stay put. If you are planning an overnight walk, carry appropriate food, water and sleeping gear.

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