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Simulation helps services prepare for disasters

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Simulation helps services prepare for disasters

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Simulations help prepare Sunshine Coast community services for disaster response

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A simulation involving an out-of-control grass fire forcing residents to evacuate and local agencies to respond was held at the Nambour Showgrounds.

Exercise Ignis was months in the making and specifically designed to provide a realistic evacuation centre scenario, delivering hands-on experience and building capacity and knowledge among Sunshine Coast Council and Red Cross personnel.

More than 40 council and Red Cross staff and volunteers packed three days worth of responsive action into four hours in the dynamic field exercise that involved practising the registration and intake of evacuees, while establishing registration, sleeping, dining, personal support and pet areas plus site management.

Participants role-played a cross-section of the community as evacuees.

Exercise Ignis Red Cross Controller Lyn Gahan said all agencies that were part of the simulation worked really well together.

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“This was about developing understanding of the evacuation centre operational environment and working collaboratively towards the same goal of keeping the community safe,” Mrs Gahan said.

“It was a really successful operation where everyone could have the confidence in being able to learn, adapt and meet challenges and appreciate the partnership within their own teams but also be prepared to adapt and learn from mistakes.”

Exercise Ignis Red Cross Controller Lyn Gahan (left) discusses critical elements of the mock evacuation centre exercise.

“Our Red Cross team was a mix of experienced volunteers and some who are new to volunteering. The exercise provided a great development opportunity for the team to practise a range of roles and tasks to support evacuated community members.”

“There’s nothing like having to adapt on the day of the exercise and workshop through a whole range of challenging situations.”

Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said keeping the community safe during critical disasters was paramount.

“I’m pleased to see the simulation was such a success, thanks to hard work, cooperation and critical listening from all parties involved,” Cr Law said.

“Council works extremely hard with key local and state government agencies to ensure it is adequately prepared in times of a crisis.”

For more information on how people can be prepared and what to do in an emergency visit https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Living-and-Community/Community-Safety/Disasters

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