Cyclonic conditions at Norman Point could put a storm surge another one to two metres above this.
Cyclonic conditions at Norman Point could put a storm surge another one to two metres above this. Craig Warhurst

Council plans for natural disaster

IMAGINE if a cyclone crossed the Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach coastline, inundating the area with howling winds and buckets of rain.

This is what Gympie Regional Council’s Local Disaster Management Group will be doing on the last Tuesday of this month when they conduct the “Tracey II” evacuation exercise at Tin Can Bay.

Council’s Local Disaster co-ordinator Ron Potter said the scenario would help local and state agencies work out what role they had in assisting people if the coastal areas were “wiped out”.

He said the various organisations taking part, like the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Department of Communities and Centrelink, would deliver a 10-minute presentation on what they could offer in the event of an emergency and what trigger points were needed before they became involved.

Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) Welfare Sub-committee Chairman Councillor Julie Walker said the idea to hold the operation in the region came when she participated in one at Maroochydore last year.

“I thought wow, we need to do this,” she said.

Mr Potter said it had been a while since there was a cyclone threat to the region and the operation would help to bring everyone back up to speed or stop complacency.

The last cyclone that came close was Cyclone Hamish last year.

As a part of the operation an evacuation centre will be set up.

Mr Potter said the devastation of cyclones was far reaching, with homes wiped out and people not being able to work.

“It will be a very interesting day,” he said.

In the event of a disaster, council’s LDMG would meet with the district disaster group and discuss whether and evacuation was needed.

Mr Potter said Mayor Ron Dyne was able to start evacuation procedures and the police had the power to conduct the evacuation.

Cr Walker said there had been a lot of interest from community groups interested in taking part in the operation.

So far fire, ambulance, police, SES, coastguard and council are all taking part.

Cr Walker said council’s disaster management plan was in a critical signing-off stage and people involved needed to be trained up in the event of a disaster.

“It’s been a bit of a handful but it’s all coming together nicely,” she said. “If something goes wrong on the day...it’s a learning process.”

Cr Walker said the operation was something proactive council was doing to help constituents feel they would be safe if something happened and it would help smooth out any problems with the current plan.

Cr Walker and Mr Potter are heading to a Disaster Management Course today.

Gympie Times


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