Sunshine Coast’s disaster and emergency teams have been working hard behind the scenes to be prepared for the summer storm season by improving facilities and buying new equipment.
Deputy Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) and Acting Mayor Councillor Chris Thompson said that council in partnership with Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) and State Emergency Services (SES) are well prepared for 2013 – and the community also needs to be prepared particularly with the current heat wave and the potential risks this brings.
“It’s a coordinated and joint effort to be prepared to look after the Sunshine Coast community with constant reviewing and upgrading of facilities, equipment and processes,” Cr Thompson said.
“The SES has an important role in disaster management and is to be congratulated on doing a magnificent job on the Sunshine Coast.
”SES members prepare for and respond to a wide range of emergency situations that contribute significantly to the safety of the citizens of Sunshine Coast, and their value and importance is widely recognised throughout the community.
“Council and EMQ work together with the SES to ensure they are provided with the support and equipment they need to get this job done.
“In 2012 council contributed funding towards four new SES vehicles – one each based at Caloundra and Pomona; and two at Coolum – plus a new concrete apron at the Tewantin SES shed for easier and safer access especially during wet weather. This allows improved service to our community in times of response to disaster or emergency.”
EMQ Area Director, Andrew Wyatt said the key to the success of the joint effort is providing a structure that ensures the most efficient and effective use of SES resources to assist the community – both here on the Sunshine Coast and when deployed to assist elsewhere.
“We have 389 active SES volunteers in 12 groups across the Sunshine Coast that are coordinated by two SES controllers – Stan Ryan for the northern unit and Janet Scott for the southern unit,” Andrew Wyatt said.
“Within the past 12 months, the Sunshine Coast SES have been involved in a number of activities including seven severe weather related events that occurred between January and June 2012 as well as being actively involved with the Morcombe case searches and assisting the Brisbane SES with the severe storms that went through Brisbane in September 2012.
“In fact, over this timeframe SES volunteers have put in 47,229 total hours of support for disaster and emergency management work. This includes 8,212 operational hours, 36,288 routine hours and 2,729 public education hours.
“The SES is continually on the look-out for new volunteers as numbers do fluctuate over time. I urge community members to seriously consider joining as an active member to assist with this valuable community work.”
Local Disaster Coordinator, Alan (Fox) Rogers said the community needs to take some responsibility themselves and be prepared in advance – don’t wait until something happens and then think that someone can always assist.
“With the current heat wave and increased fire danger, it is timely to remind each and every household and business to assess what the risks are for them and take steps to be prepared,” Fox Rogers said.
“If you’re fit and healthy, it is your responsibility to prepare your home, yourself, your pets and others to minimise disruption to your lifestyle. With the current heat wave, drink lots of water, stay cool and keep well hydrated.”
For information on how to be prepared, check council’s website.