Australia. Minister urges Queenslanders to prepare for potentially devastating cyclone season

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Emergency Services Minister Pat Purcell is urging Queenslanders to prepare their homes and their families for another summer of potentially devastating cyclones. Officially launching cyclone season, in Innisfail, Mr Purcell said it was important that people took action now to minimise any possible damage to their homes this season.

"Many people wait until a cyclone is actually approaching before they take the necessary precautions to protect their home and property," he said. "but the reality is that cyclones can develop quite quickly or change course without warning and people can find themselves dangerously unprepared once the winds begin to pick up speed."

Mr Purcell said there are a number of steps that residents can complete now to minimise damage to their homes in the event of a cyclone. "Firstly - ensure that your roof is completely secure. This means no loose roof tiles and no leaves or other debris clogging the guttering. If you need to call in a tradesperson to check the safety of your roof then do so as soon as possible.” "Secondly - trim all the trees surrounding your property so that there are no branches overhanging your house and, finally, remove or secure any outdoor items, such as furniture, garden tools or toys that could become dangerous missiles once airborne."

Mr Purcell also encouraged residents to prepare a fully stocked Emergency Kit to have on standby in their home. "At the very least, this should include a battery operated radio to monitor weather reports, a torch in case of power failure, tinned food, bottled water, spare clothes and a First Aid kit." he said. "It is also worth checking the details of your home and contents insurance, just to make sure you know exactly what you're covered for."

Mr Purcell said residents also needed to understand the importance of being prepared for evacuations. "People should identify family or friends who have a home that they can evacuate to if an official evacuation order is issued or if they decide to leave voluntarily." he said. "The best option is to go further inland or on higher ground, but it is essential that families start discussing their options now so that when the time comes, they have plans in place."

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 21 November 2006 )