Sunshine Coast and Noosa disaster management groups were put to the test today in a joint real-time practice exercise involving more than 200 personnel ahead of the coming storm season.
Exercise Evictus was a realistic scenario based on supercell storms and associated flash flooding hitting the region, causing severe damage and forcing evacuations from schools, holiday parks, aged care facilities and other public areas.
It challenged the readiness of the Sunshine Coast and Noosa Local Disaster Management Groups (LDMGs), as well as police, fire, ambulance, SES and other services.
Sunshine Coast LDMG deputy chair Cr Tim Dwyer said the exercise was an an opportunity for all areas of our disaster management teams to test and improve their responses and skills in case disaster does strike our region.
“We know we are always in the firing line of summer storms here on the Sunshine Coast,” Cr Dwyer said.
“As we live in a subtropical climate, we need to be aware and prepared for these types of weather events because it’s not a matter of ‘if’ but ‘when’ storms will roll into our region.
“Today’s exercise had multiple aspects that needed to be addressed and dealt with.
“It really is as close as you can get to a real-life event.
“It’s also a great example of everyone working as one with more than 200 people involved from a wide range of agencies and services.”
Sunshine Coast LDMG co-ordinator Tom Jamieson said the training exercise and upcoming Get Ready campaign are timely reminders for residents to be prepared for disaster events, whether they were man-made or natural disasters.
“It’s important for householders and businesses to prepare in advance of the summer storm season, to have an emergency plan in place, organise an emergency kit, prepare an evacuation plan and tune into warnings and emergency advice,” Mr Jamieson said.
Residents can visit Sunshine Coast Council’s Disaster Hub for all the information they need to prepare their homes and businesses, and stay up to date with important information such as road closures, evacuation centres and weather warnings.
In Exercise Evictus, the local disaster coordination was set up to:
- Test activation triggers and processes of the Local Disaster Management Group in response to a sudden onset emergency event affecting the Sunshine Coast community.
- Test the communication flows between all groups involved in the exercise and identify shortfalls in information processing.
- Test individual agency emergency operations, plans, response processes and the new Queensland Prevention, Preparedness, Response and Recovery Disaster Management Guidelines.
- Test the Local Disaster Management Plan’s Evacuation Sub Plan and evacuation processes.
- Identify and manage all aspects of media and emergency advice (inclusive of broadcast, social and web based) to inform and instruct the general public of the occurrence of the event, and actions taken to ensure public safety.
The exercise underway in Nambour