Maryborough SES local controller Helen Scott.
Maryborough SES local controller Helen Scott. Karleila Thomsen

Storm season may be a monster

GET READY to batten down those hatches because tomorrow is the official start of the storm and cyclone season and it is predicted to be a monster.

Maryborough SES local controller Helen Scott says the season has been getting bigger and stronger every year and this summer fits the trend.

“They’re predicting a big storm season with a couple of cyclones,” said Ms Scott, who has been with the SES for 25 years.

The SES, however, has not had to wait for summer to be rushed off its feet; the early start to the fire season has kept volunteers and staff busy since August 24.

Crews have been helping firefighters with traffic control as a seemingly endless stream of grass fires started across the region amid a high fire danger.

It does not look like there will be any rest for the weary either, with Ms Scott already preparing for one helluva storm season.

That is where the community can help.

Ms Scott says the SES is always looking for more volunteers to ease the workload.

Training is offered in chainsaw operations, height safety, communications (radio control) or general administration. The practical side of that training is erecting tarps, carrying out temporary repairs, moving furniture from homes, cutting down trees that pose a risk and general clean-up duties.

Ms Scott said many residents offered their help after Cyclone Hamish in March and one to two people a month joined Maryborough SES, which has about 80 active members across Maryborough, Woocoo, Tiaro and the Sandy Strait. The Hervey Bay SES takes in Howard, Burrum Heads and Fraser Island.

Ms Scott admits being a part of the SES has its bad days. But, she says, when people show their appreciation it makes all the difference: “The biggest thing is for the community to say thank you.”

Her advice to residents this season is to check homes are storm ready, make sure insurance is current and clean up yards.

“When a storm approaches secure all outdoor furniture and remember your pets.”

Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson is also reminding Queenslanders to stay safe and prepare their properties.

“It’s important for people to tidy their yards and make sure no loose garden furniture, toys, building materials or dead branches are lying around that could become projectiles during a storm,” he said.



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