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Gold Coast emergency services prepare for large natural disaster event at Tallebudgera

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Gold Coast emergency services prepare for large natural disaster event at Tallebudgera

IF you noticed a large presence of emergency personnel at Tallebudgera overnight rest easy — it was just a training exercise.

Council’s disaster management officers, police, fire crews and surf lifesavers teamed up overnight to simulate a significant storm event on the Coast.

The exercise, dubbed Operation Trident, simulated a severe storm event during which 320mm of rain fell in the Tallebudgera Creek catchment — coinciding with wind gusts of up to 95km/h.

Flash flooding coincided with a high tide event which saw 255 properties affected, roads and causeways flooded, and power cut to several areas.

Gold Coast emergency services prepare for large natural disaster event at Tallebudgera

The response to the simulated disaster was led by local area management group chairman Mayor Tom Tate who also fielded several simulated press conferences.

The Mayor said the simulation provided a valuable insight into the City’s preparedness and demonstrated the value of the jointly housed Disaster Management Unit established in 2012.

“We’re always refining and improving our practices, this exercise demonstrated our strengths and reinforced that local residents are in safe hands,” he said.

“We learned many lessons from Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald and it is great to see many improvements to our systems performing well under stress and in a ‘live’ situation.”

The Mayor said that he would like to see further investment and more improvements ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Gold Coast emergency services prepare for large natural disaster event at Tallebudgera

“Glasgow set an incredibly high benchmark and it is important that we get to that level in coming years,” Cr Tate said.

“In particular, I would like to see information flow more quickly between all agencies, through broadcast media and on social media.”

“Information must be accurate — but it must also be as close to live as we can get so residents can make informed decisions about protecting their loved ones and property.”

“We had all hands on deck and computers fired up with half an hour of it beginning while progressive we had new incidents every half an hour,” he said.

“We knew where we needed to deploy people and made it happen, however the information flow will need to go much better,” he said.

“When a real disaster comes you train and do the exercises to make sure you get them right to make sure the city is in safe hands.”

The Mayor hoped news of the exercise would prompt residents to spend some time thinking about their own emergency plans ahead of the summer storm season.

“The most important thing you can do for you and your family is to make a plan,” he said.

“We all hope we’ll never need to use an emergency kit, but extreme weather is part of our lives and as a community, our best protection is to be prepared. This can help take the load off our emergency services to continue their important frontline work.”

For advice on what to include in your emergency kit and to get a free waterproof document wallet, visit the City’s information stands at Bunning’s stores: Arundel, Burleigh Heads, Nerang, Oxenford and Southport this Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 October 2014 10am to 1pm.

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