Preparations vital as Queensland enters natural disaster season

Queenslanders are being urged to prepare now as the state heads into the peak of its natural disaster season.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Greg Leach said it was essential all households took the time now to ensure they were equipped to withstand severe weather events and emergencies.

Mr Leach’s call comes in the wake of significant storm activity this week and as Queensland braces for a return to heightened bushfire conditions this weekend.

“The wild weather that lashed numerous communities caused flash flooding and damaged properties in the south-east corner, resulting in more than 400 requests for assistance to the State Emergency Service (SES),” Mr Leach said.

“While many people continue to clean up after recent storms, communities from the far north to the south of the state are now bracing for heightened bushfire conditions over the weekend.

“Queensland weather can fluctuate significantly, which is why residents should never underestimate the severity of storms and bushfires and the damage they can cause.

“This week is a timely reminder for people to prepare themselves and their properties, if they have not already done so.”

Mr Leach said households could take important steps now to reduce the impact of severe weather and bushfires.

“Removing debris from the around the home, cleaning gutters and downpipes, trimming overhead branches and maintaining a tidy lawn can make a big difference when the weather turns nasty,” he said.

“All households should have emergency and evacuation plans, a well-supplied emergency kit with important items and ensure their insurance is up to date.

“While our highly-trained personnel are ready to respond when called upon, we need the community’s support.

“QFES has been doing a considerable amount of work in local communities throughout Queensland to help residents prepare, including attending events and open days, and regularly providing important safety information to the public.”

Mr Leach said QFES personnel had been busy honing their skills in anticipation of a busy period toward the end of the year and into early 2021.

“Our dedicated personnel are among the most respected people in their field due to the considerable time and effort they invest in maintaining and building upon their skills,” he said.

“This year has certainly been one of the most challenging for training and preparation given the impact of COVID-19, but our personnel adapted to ensure they could continue their training safely.”

Mr Leach said QFES was also working closely with its partner agencies to ensure a well-resourced and coordinated response to emergencies.

“As with previous years, QFES is working collaboratively with local governments to assist their storm season preparations so they can support communities during disaster events,” he said.

“This is in addition to the important work QFES is leading in the disaster management space, including investigating how best to maintain an effective response when concurrent emergencies strike.

“Natural disasters do not discriminate, which is why everyone has a role to play so Queenslanders can withstand what the worst of Mother Nature throws at us.”

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