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Friday, October 28, 2011

Know what to expect during a disaster

Imagine being isolated for days without essential supplies such as power, fresh drinking water or food. 

Thousands of Queenslanders experienced this first hand last storm and cyclone season prompting Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) to remind people what to expect if disaster strikes. 

EMQ Regional Director for Brisbane Mike Shapland said weather events, whether it was a cyclone, storm or flood, had the potential to cause isolation and interrupt essential services such as power, water and communications. 

“Wind damage and flooding can result in access routes being cut and emergency services being unable to reach impacted residents,” Mr Shapland said. 

Mr Shapland said in the initial phase of a disaster, it was likely emergency services would be engaged in essential disaster management tasks and assisting residents who may not be capable of evacuating themselves. 

“During the initial phase of disaster response, SES crews will be working on many urgent requests and in some cases may not have immediate access to isolated properties,” he said. 

“Able-bodied members of the community will need to take on the responsibility of taking care of themselves and their families if they’re required to evacuate to a predetermined safer location. 

“If we take responsibility to prepare seriously, the impact on our family’s well-being will be less severe and people will be able to return to a normal level of activity much sooner.” 

“The way to start is to understand the hazards in your own local area - such as roads that may flood - and ask about local emergency plans; then make a Household Emergency Plan of your own,” Mr Shapland said. 

Residents are reminded the number to call in a life-threatening emergency is triple zero (000) and for storm or flood assistance phone the State Emergency Service on 132 500.