Schools are encouraged to make use of the FREE educational presentation offered by the
NTES Public Education Officer with the help of Paddy Platypus and other volunteers.
Paddy Platypus is well known in southern states and very popular with young audiences. He visits schools and community events raising the profile of emergency service volunteers and shares important information to prepare for emergencies, particularly floods, storms and cyclones.
The presentation is appropriate for whole school audiences with the information being specifically targeted towards early childhood students with Links to the Australian Curriculum. The NTES school presentation offers an excellent opportunity for students to become aware of our agency and the valuable work that the volunteers do.
The students will hear Paddy’s key safety messages and can consolidate and extend this important knowledge and skills by making use of Lil’ Larrikins Natural Hazards Children’s Program.
Paddy’s key safety messages include the following:
- Stay inside during storms
- Have a home emergency kit
- Have a family emergency plan
- Never walk, ride, swim or play in floodwater or drains
- Check on your neighbours
- Take care of your pets
- Do not shelter under trees in a storm
- How Paddy became a volunteer
Paddy was hatched a few years ago in one of the coastal rivers in New South Wales. By the time Paddy turned one, he was on his own and doing what platypuses do: foraging for food and digging tunnels and burrows.
Not too long after his first birthday Paddy was caught in a flood. As his home river continued to rise, and the water ran more swiftly, he managed to fight his way into a billabong. Hungry and exhausted, he sheltered there and waited for the flood to subside.
During this time, Paddy noticed there were boats being driven by people wearing orange overalls and serious expressions. He watched the people in orange overalls rescue other people, who like him, were stranded by the flood. He even watched them save someone who had tried to cross a nearby creek in a four wheel drive. It was then that Paddy decided he wanted to help, so once the floodwaters had gone down, he contacted the SES and asked if he could volunteer too.
- Paddy as a volunteer
Paddy found he was a natural as an SES volunteer. He was keen and reliable. He knew lots about his own river, and about how floods can behave. Soon he found he had another talent: he was great at getting people to learn and remember the things they could do to stay safer in floods and storms. Kids loved him, and so did their parents. Paddy’s career as the SES mascot had begun.
Not too long after this, Paddy realised that there were people in other places in Australia that also experienced dangerous weather conditions. Paddy soon found his way to South Australia and, after hearing about the flooding in Alice Springs’ Todd River, Paddy boarded The Ghan and travelled to the Northern Territory Emergency Service’s Headquarters in Darwin.
- Paddy arrives in the Northern Territory
Hopping off in Darwin, Paddy approached NTES and asked if he could help spread the message on how to stay safe in storms and floods to the people in the Northern Territory. The Director of NTES agreed that Paddy would be the perfect volunteer for the job and gave permission for Paddy to visit schools, community events and shows.
Today Paddy travels around the Northern Territory, helping NTES volunteers across the NT to spread the message that there are simple things everyone can do to stay safe in severe weather.