The Local Disaster Management Group met today at the Mackay Regional Council to discuss the development of an emergency plan for earthquakes in Mackay.
The Local Disaster Management Group met today at the Mackay Regional Council to discuss the development of an emergency plan for earthquakes in Mackay. Kieran Moran

Quake wakes up Mackay's emergency services

MACKAY was so under prepared for the 5.8 magnitude earthquake two weeks ago that the initial reaction from local emergency services was one of surprise.

Despite their reaction, all of the services responded instantly with their individual disaster management plans; but due to their under preparedness, an emergency plan for earthquakes will now be put in place for Mackay.

Speaking at a Local Disaster Management Group meeting attended by emergency services and government agencies yesterday, Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said Mackay needed to have a state of preparedness for any local disaster.

"We weren't prepared for earthquakes," Cr Williamson said.

"We are prepared for floods, fire and cyclones, but in the case of earthquakes, there was a decided lack of preparedness."

THE LDMG manages and co-ordinates local and external resources required to provide assistance to the community in response to an event.

Cr Williamson said the council, along with emergency services, was now rectifying their lack of preparedness for earthquakes.

"The basic rules for earthquakes will be published on our website today and LDMG members will collate their disaster management plans to create a plan for the Mackay region," he said.

"In the new year the council will also stage a planning exercise for an earthquake that may produce a tsunami to create an overall plan for the district."

It was recognised at the meeting that it wasn't only emergency services that were under prepared but the majority of the community including schools.

Deputy mayor Amanda Camm said there were real inconsistencies across Mackay's schools in activating emergency plans when the earthquake hit.

"There was a lot of confusion amongst teachers and the schools themselves as to whether or not evacuate the building or not," she said. "Even though many of our children and teachers hadn't experienced an earthquake before, children needed to be assured everything was okay; however, it was reported there was a lot of disruption and different reactions from schools around their earthquake evacuation processes."

Education Queensland was contacted for comment.



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