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Be prepared for a wet Australia Day long weekend

25/01/2013

With north Queensland’s wet weather set to head south in time for the Australia Day long-weekend, residents and holiday makers across south-east Queensland should consider their safety during the severe weather.

Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) South East Regional Director, Mike Shapland reminded those living and travelling in south-east Queensland to be vigilant with heavy rain likely to set in this afternoon.

“While the Australia Day long weekend is a great time to celebrate with family and friends, people should take weather warnings seriously, put their safety first and be sensibly prepared,” Mr Shapland said.

“Although State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers are on-hand to assist those in need, their support is primarily targeted towards helping the most vulnerable first, so it is vital you help them by preparing yourself and your home.

“If they haven’t done so already, I urge residents to take the time now to clean their gutters. This is an essential part of protecting your roof and property from extreme weather and can save you money on repair costs following a weather event.

“Residents in flood-prone areas should ensure they have their essential supplies readily available, such as a well-stocked emergency kit and food supplies, essentials for young children such as nappies and milk formula and medicines should they become isolated.

“They should also consider if they require sandbags, which can be purchased from most major hardware stores. Filling plastic shopping bags with soil can also be a suitable alternative. You can also contact your local council for further information on where sandbags are available.”

Mr Shapland urged residents who were travelling this weekend to avoid flooded roads and causeways and monitor road conditions.

“It’s important for people to remember: ‘If it’s flooded, forget it’. You should never enter floodwaters and always discourage others from doing so,” he said.

“Before you hit the road, check the current conditions and map out an alternative route if there is a chance you may come across floodwaters.

“If you are heading to remote areas for the long weekend, make sure you seek local advice and check conditions before leaving. Also remember to advise people of your travel plans.

“Flash flooding can occur quickly and catch motorists and pedestrians unaware. In most cases, swift water rescues are preventable and there is absolutely no excuse for motorists who deliberately drive or walk past a road closed sign and into floodwaters.

Mr Shapland said flash flooding was extremely dangerous and can occur within minutes of intense heavy rainfall.

“Do not walk or play in or near floodwaters, flooded creeks, dams, weirs, causeways and storm
drains – floodwaters are treacherous and the dangers are hidden beneath the surface,” he said.

“It is crucial young children are constantly supervised around water at all times, to avoid the risk of drowning. Even near the water’s edge the slope of the ground, slippery surface or currents can cause a person to lose their footing.”

If residents require storm and flood assistance they should contact the SES on 132 500. In a life-threatening emergency, which includes vehicles trapped in floodwater, always dial Triple Zero (000).


Contact for media enquiries: DCS media unit on (07) 3635 3310.


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