Sunday, June 23, 2024

Toowoomba council hosts disaster management exercise

Toowoomba Regional Council has today hosted a major joint Local Government and Police disaster management exercise testing the capability of various Local Disaster Management Groups (LDMGs) from across southern Queensland.

‘Operation Home on the Range’ was held at the Toowoomba Showgrounds and attended by representatives from six southern Queensland local government areas as well as the Queensland Police, District Disaster Coordination Group, Red Cross, Rural Fire, Local Government Association of Queensland and the State Emergency Service.

The exercise used a major flood event scenario to practice the various Local Disaster Management Group’s capabilities to respond to a request to provide evacuation centre support for a mass evacuation scenario.

Toowoomba Region Mayor and Chair of the Toowoomba Local Disaster Management Group, Geoff McDonald said the mock exercise was an important test for LDMGs to provide support outside of their own local government area.

“It was pleasing to see that six local government areas were in attendance at today’s mock exercise with representatives from Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Southern Downs, Western Downs, Somerset and Goondiwindi Regional Councils coming together,” said Mayor McDonald.

“There’s no doubt that Disaster Management will continue to play a large role in the operation of most local government areas in Queensland as floods and fires continue to have an impact.

“Local governments are the lead agency when it comes to the coordination of evacuation centres regardless of what type of emergency might be in play.

“Exercises like this are an important way for the Local Disaster Management Groups to test capabilities, ensure lines of communication remain open and the sharing of resources is achieved when a real disaster strikes as we’ve seen most recently with the bushfires which heavily impacted the Western Downs.

“Today’s exercise was as practical as it gets with the Toowoomba Showgrounds used to set up a real evacuation centre, complete with stretcher beds, staff manning the centre, checking in of mock evacuees, media management and public information sharing as well as managing requests for supplies and the like.

“The exercise also involved a significant debrief element allowing for feedback on what worked well and what didn’t work well and suggestions for improvements that can be made during times of a real emergency situation.

“I thank all participants who made the time to visit Toowoomba today and all involved in the coordination of such an important mock exercise testing the capability of LDMGs,” Mayor McDonald said.

The joint exercise was held on ‘Wear Orange Wednesday’ which is a national day of recognition for all SES volunteers.

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