Three-day survival challenge hits Ekka

Three day survival challenge

Could you survive three days of isolation at home if roads, power and water were cut?

This will become a reality for six comedians, musicians and radio personalities when they take turns to bunk together in three teams of two in a mock living room under torchlight, with no running water and a pet guinea pig, surviving on an emergency kit and basic food rations.

Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) Assistant Director-General Bruce Grady said EMQ and NRMA Insurance had teamed up again this year, bringing the unique three-day survival challenge to Queensland’s biggest exhibition – the Ekka – to promote storm preparation prior to the 2012 storm and cyclone season.

“Last year, the ‘can you survive for three days challenge’ was an enormous success, so this year EMQ and NRMA Insurance decided to extend the event to run for ten days, from the 9–18 August,” Mr Grady said.

“This year, three teams of two will each spend three days and nights isolated from the world in the mock living room, or ‘fishbowl’, situated at the EMQ-NRMA Insurance storm season Ekka display,” he said.

“This unique experiment will drive the disaster preparedness message home to all Queenslanders as they see firsthand how important emergency preparation is in ensuring people can cope during the days of isolation that can follow a severe weather event.”

One of Brisbane’s hottest up-and-coming comedians, radio personalities and columnists Melinda Buttle and quirky comedy newcomer Rhi Down will represent Queensland’s ‘twenty somethings’ and will be the first team to enter the fishbowl on Thursday, 9 August.

The girls will be relieved by team ‘thirty somethings’ – internationally recognised comedian and Guinness World Record Holder Lindsay Webb and Brisbane comedian and one-half of musical comedy-duo ‘the Laundromats’ Kristian Smith – who will enter the fishbowl on Sunday, 12 August.

The final team, representing the state’s ‘forty somethings’, featuring comedy veterans Mick Meredith and Desh, will take up residence in the fishbowl on Wednesday, 15 August.

Each team will remain isolated in the custom-made perspex living room, reliant on their own devices and the contents of their emergency kit until the State Emergency Service (SES) comes to assist them.

Participants will share their personal experiences in storm readiness over the ten days through social media sites.

 “Through this experiment the public are also encouraged to share their experiences through social media of how they coped without some of the things they previously took for granted and what actions they are taking to prepare for storm season,” Mr Grady said.

“Thousands of Queenslanders are all too familiar with the effect disasters can have on their everyday lives. Many have previously found themselves ill-prepared when faced with disaster.”

NRMA Insurance Community and Sustainability Manager Megan Lupton said many Queenslanders know they need to be well prepared for disasters, and now was the time to put that knowledge into action.

However research* from the insurer found only 10 percent of Queenslanders have a storm emergency kit packed at home.

“We’re concerned many residents still do not have an emergency kit which is vital when severe weather strikes,” she said. 

Emergency kits should contain at a minimum, a torch and working batteries, a first aid kit, a portable radio and important documents including insurance policies in a waterproof bag.

Throughout the ten-day event, SES volunteers will be onsite to educate the public on household preparedness in conjunction with representatives from NRMA Insurance, who will operate a ‘home safety check’ service onsite. 

All Queenslanders are invited to join the online conversation and prepare for storm season at

Visitors to the Ekka are encouraged to take a photo of themselves in front of the Survive3 mock living room, upload it to Instagram or Twitter and hash tag the image with #survive3 to go into the draw to win an emergency kit each day of the event.

The exhibition’s younger visitors are also encouraged to visit the perspex living room along The Courier-Mail Ekka ‘Adventure Trail’ route to collect a solar powered torch keyring and stamp.

Thanks to Next Byte, Queenslanders will be able to track what’s happening in the house and learn how to prepare for the coming storm season by ‘liking’ the Survive3 Facebook page and joining in the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using the hash tag #survive3.

Queensland SES and NRMA Insurance have been working together since 2007 to increase storm preparedness education and encourage the community to take steps against damage and loss from severe weather events.

* Survey of 493 Queensland households carried out by Pure Profile Research for NRMA Insurance, July 2012.

For further information or to arrange an interivew with a participant or SES volunteer involved please contact Department of Community Safety Media on (07) 3635 3310.