Redland City conducted its latest disaster management training event Exercise Exodus, as part of Council’s regular commitment to in-the-field training to test local systems and capacity early last month.
The mock scenario presented a large storm with damaging winds tracking down the Queensland coast directly towards the Southern Moreton Bay Islands. Participants were involved in setting up and operating an emergency evacuation centre at Russell Island Recreation Hall, with other simultaneous activities including a helicopter rescue from an overturned boat, beach and roadside rescues of stranded people, and the movement of people and equipment to other SMBI islands to establish additional evacuation centres.
SMBI Community Champions and local chaplains, who have recently been trained in evacuation centre management and helping people in times of crisis, were able to put their new skills into practice in a close-to-real life scenario, with volunteer actors providing a range of challenging situations to manage.
The Community Champions were all bay island residents nominated by peak community groups, due to their irreplaceable community knowledge, to be a reliable first source of information during natural disasters and emergencies, as well as extra hands in response and community recovery. During the exercise they played a key role in registering arrivals, assessing and assisting people in trauma and managing volunteers.
Exercise Exodus was a multi-agency disaster management exercise involving collaborative work between Redland City Council, Queensland Police Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (including Rural Fire Service and State Emergency Service), Australian Red Cross, Volunteering Queensland, Salvation Army, Surf Life Saving Queensland, Coast Guard, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Queensland Rail, APA Gas, SEQ Water, Energex, Telstra, GIVIT and various Queensland Government departments.
With more than 170 participants - including 40 Council officers , 25 SMBI Community Champions, 7 chaplains and over 80 emergency services personnel – the exercise followed similar activities in recent years on North Stradbroke Island and mainland Redlands.
• Cr Mark Edwardes with the Community Champions who were involved with the exercise.