Popular event focuses on disaster readiness

Date published: 3 November 2021

This Sunday’s Disaster Ready Day will provide a one-stop shop for Townsville residents needing information on preparing for the traditional wet season and weather events that may impact the region.

Townsville Mayor and Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group Jenny Hill said a variety of stallholders would be set up at Jezzine Barracks and ready to engage with the community about disaster preparedness, resilience and recovery.

“There is a possibility of a La Niña weather pattern forming again this year, which could mean higher than average rainfall, and warmer water temperatures in the Coral Sea, which is a key ingredient in the formation of cyclones,” Cr Hill said.

“The community needs to be prepared for any disaster eventuality.

“Disaster Ready Day is about providing the community the information they need to get ready now. Leaving disaster preparations to the very last minute is no plan at all.”

Cr Hill once again urged the community to include getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in their preparations.

“There will be a vaccination pop-up clinic at Disaster Ready Day to enable eligible residents at the event to get the jab if they want,” she said.

District Disaster Coordinator, Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon, said the city’s emergency response and recovery agencies had planned and practiced during the year.

“Townsville’s disaster response and recovery agencies meet and practice throughout the year to review and enhance their capabilities,” Chief Superintendent Hanlon said.

“The old adage is true: hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

“But we can’t do it by ourselves. We need the community to play their part and prepare in case we are impacted by a cyclone or flooding event.”

Senior Australian Defence Force Officer Townsville South, Brigadier Kahlil Fegan, said the Australian Defence Force was a proven partner in times of crisis.

“The Australian Defence Force here in North Queensland is always ready to provide support to the very capable existing federal, state and territory capabilities and increase capacity if and when we are called on to do so,” Brigadier Fegan said.

“The ADF capabilities locally and from around our nation that can be called upon are well versed with assisting Emergency, State and Federal Services thanks to a range of joint exercises throughout the year.

“In North Queensland, we work together regularly to ensure seamless interoperability should a time come when we need to serve the community shoulder to shoulder.

“The best response to disaster, however, is good preparation, so I encourage every member of the community to get all the information they need to ensure they are disaster ready this high-risk weather season.”

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Assistant Commissioner Steve Barber said it was a team effort when it came to preparing for severe weather.

“The State Emergency Service, Fire and Rescue Service and Rural Fire Service have all been preparing ahead of storm and cyclone season to ensure they are ready to assist the community and support local government when needed,” Mr Barber said.

“But it is also important that residents play their part and prepare their properties now by cleaning up around the yard, securing any loose items and clearing gutters and other drainage systems of any debris.

“It is also paramount that every household has an emergency kit stocked and ready to go with items such as a battery-operated radio, torch and spare batteries.

“For current and up-to-date information regarding a potential or occurring severe weather event ensure you monitor your radio, television, social media and local government websites.”

Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon, Mayor Jenny Hill and Brigadier Kahlil Fegan are encouraging Townsville residents to prepare for natural disasters
Caption: Chief Superintendent Craig Hanlon, Mayor Jenny Hill and Brigadier Kahlil Fegan are encouraging Townsville residents to prepare for natural disasters.