Yeppoon’s new cyclone centre passes test of mock disaster

    |   10th Oct 2013 2:23 PM

Yeppoon’s new cyclone centre

Emergency Services and Council staff gathered at the Yeppoon Cyclone Shelter for a mock activation. Trish Bowman

YEPPOON’S Cyclone Shelter at Yeppoon State High School is one step closer to being disaster-ready after a mock activation was held with all emergency services on hand.

RRC Local Disaster Management Group met at the shelter to respond to the mock activation and discuss methods of fine-tuning the activation

Local Disaster Management Co-ordinator, Deputy Mayor Tony Williams, said the exercise was important leading up to the cyclone season beginning in November.

“Disasters happen and the Coast has experienced cyclones and storm surges in the past, so practising the planning and preparation involved is vital to ensure a true shelter activation runs smoothly when it’s needed most,” Cr Williams said.

“We haven’t had a serious cyclone since the ’70s but we do live in a cyclone area so we are urging people to prepare for the upcoming cyclone season.

“This facility is not an evacuation area – it is somewhere to go to wait out the event.”

Cr Williams said the Local Disaster Management Group, predominantly made up of Rockhampton Regional Council, State Emergency Service, Queensland Fire and Rescue, Queensland Police, Queensland Ambulance, Red Cross, and Emergency Management Queensland, worked together on cyclone scenarios during the mock activation and then activated the Cyclone Shelter.

“We used our learning’s, incorporated them into existing plans so we can be better prepared for a potential cyclone event,” he said.

“If the cyclone shelter is ever activated, residents can rest assured that we have a co-ordinated, timely and practised response.”

The Yeppoon Cyclone Shelter is located at the Yeppoon State High School and is used as a last resort only for residents. The facility offers only limited space with room for chairs.

Tthere will be no refrigeration, cooking or electronic charging facilities and only sufficient space for one bag to be secured under the chair.In the event of a cyclone, residents are being encouraged to seek alternative arrangements and only use the shelter as a last resort.

There will be no pets permitted in the shelter unless they are a certified assistance animal.

Cr Williams said the shelter could accommodate a maximum of 800 people and would be locked down if winds reached 80km/h. per hour.

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