Preparation, resilience are keys to flood, fire response

RESILIENCE and preparation are the keys to responding efficiently to a severe flood or fire this summer.

The Fraser Coast Regional Council has upgraded and added flood gauges in the region in an effort to improve the knowledge of a dangerous situation.

Mayor Gerard O'Connell said the preparation work to date had concentrated on creating a network of wardens and community groups as well as fixing roads to withstand minor flood levels.

"A series of feedback forums was held across the region after the floods which provided a lot of valuable information," he said.

"We've used that feedback in the review of the Local Disaster Plan (LDP)."

The council adopted the new LDP at its meeting last Wednesday.

Cr O'Connell said the council had a plan in place for residents to prepare for the flood season.

"Our education phase usually starts in November with the free dump days to encourage people to clean up around their homes, but this year we're going to start with Get Ready Week from October 14 to 20," he said.

"We hope that the memory of the 2012 and 2013 floods are still fresh in people's minds so they will prepare."

Social media is also a key in disaster management and the council has also been promoting its Disaster Co-ordination Centre Facebook page.

"At the height of the flood in January 4500 people had 'liked' the page and 105,000 were following our news feed," he said.

Residents are also urged to have a disaster kit ready; equipped with the essential items to stay alive for three days.

"We've forgotten that as we get closer to Christmas we need to buy some extra non-perishable food each time we going shopping to put into the pantry," Cr O'Connell said.

Unlike the old days, during a disaster information can now be relayed at the touch of a button.

"So we need to be prepared to have ways to charge phones, laptops and iPads in case the power is cut and have a battery powered transistor radio ready," Cr O'Connell said.

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