Preparation paramount as North Coast braces for severe weather activity

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews in the North Coast have already been kept busy with weather-related incidents across the region ahead of what is predicted to be a significant wet season.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has identified a 66 per cent chance of a higher-than-average number of cyclones and an above-average chance of rainfall for Australia’s eastern region.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) North Coast Region (NCR) Assistant Commissioner, Gary McCormack said crews were prepared for the season and urged residents to do the same.

“There is a risk of increased weather activity in the coming months, so our communities need to be ready,” Mr McCormack said.

“In the first two weeks of November NCR State Emergency Service (SES) has already received more than 90 requests related to flooding, structural damage to homes and trees down.

“The region can rest assured it is in safe hands. We have nine NCR SES units comprising 47 groups, which equates to more than 700 active volunteers who are ready and willing to assist those in need.

“The SES delivers a wide variety of services from storm damage, flood boat operations, traffic management, land search, road crash, vertical and specialist rescue through to incident management and support for our emergency services partners, so our personnel are well-equipped to respond to a wide range of emergencies.”

Mr McCormack said crews had been conducting a considerable amount of work to help residents prepare, including attending events and open days, as well as spending time honing their skills in anticipation of a busy end to the year.

“Fire and Rescue Service swiftwater rescue technicians are always training exceptionally hard on the water and have conducted motorised swiftwater rescue workshops to sharpen their skill-set in preparation for the season ahead,” he said.

“We have the ability to deploy additional resources to any affected areas, including SES volunteers from other regions of Queensland as well as from interstate.”

NCR SES Regional Manager, Angela Everist said four Tropical Cyclones affected Queensland last season and the SES responded admirably then and would do so again this season if required.

“North Coast faced significant severe storms in that time, with more than 750 SES requests for assistance,” she said.

“Last financial year, NCR groups volunteered more than 17,000 hours in operational tasking and more than 52,000 hours in training, administration, group exercises, courses, public education, recruitment, fundraising and equipment maintenance.

“We can expect to see severe storms and heavy rainfall during the summer months, and the chance of a cyclone crossing somewhere along the Queensland coastline too. This should come as no surprise to Queenslanders and our communities need to be alert, but not alarmed.

“While we are always here to help, residents can help us by cleaning up their property, checking their insurance is up to date, stocking their emergency kit, ensuring they have a plan for their pets and downloading the SES Assistance QLD app on their mobile phone.

“As always, QFES will approach the disaster season side-by-side with local government to assist in storm season preparations so they can support communities during disaster events.”

To request assistance from the SES, lodge a request on the SES Assistance QLD app or call 132 500.

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