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Lord Mayor prepares Brisbane for 2014 storm season

25 September, 2014

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk today unveiled the latest resources in Brisbane’s disaster response capability; four specialised sandbagging machines capable of pumping out thousands of sandbags an hour.

The Lord Mayor said the sandbagging machines would equip Brisbane with world-class operational capability and preparedness during the summer storm season and natural disasters.

“Brisbane is built on a flood plain, so we are prone to a range of flooding events including river, creek, overland flow, king tide and storm surge – however most commonly; its creek or flash flooding,” Cr Quirk said.

“The new hydraulically-powered sandbaggers will increase Council’s production of sand bags, with one machine capable of filling 1200 sandbags per hour - a vast improvement on the old Gravity fed hoppers that filled 125 sandbags per hour.

“The sandbaggers will save us vital time during disaster situations, providing a quicker response to community need.”

Cr Quirk said Council had sandbags available 24/7 in storm season for residents affected by flooding, maintaining a minimum of 200 sandbags at each of the following depots:
• Newmarket - SES Depot, 66 Wilston Road
• Morningside - Balmoral Depot, 481 Wynnum Rd
• Zillmere - North Depot, 22 Jennings Street
• Darra - South Depot, 38 Shamrock Road.

“During the 2011 floods, the public used approximately 375,000 sandbags to protect their properties from water damage, and more recently in January 2013, ex-Cyclone Oswald used approximately 150,000 sandbags,” he said.

Cr Quirk said Council invested millions of dollars each year to get the city ready for severe weather to encourage a resilient and prepared community.

“This financial year, Council has committed $2.935 million to ensure the Brisbane SES will have the personnel and equipment needed to assist residents in the event of a disaster,” he said.

“This includes $900,000 to convert the former Colmslie RSL at Morningside into a new SES depot for the Eastern Balmoral SES Group and an upgrade to Richlands SES Depot.

“Council has also committed $102,000 to maintaining and continuously improving an effective response capability to flooding.”

He said summer storm season was fast approaching (October through to February) and residents should take steps now to prepare and protect their families, pets and properties.

“Severe storms can result in property damage, flooding, power outages and isolation due to floodwaters and debris, so preparing is crucial for residents’ safety and damage prevention.”



Steps for residents to prepare:
• Sign up to Council’s Early Warning Alert Service which will notify residents of any urgent emergency alerts that may potentially affect their residential address Join more than 88,000 households who have already signed up for the free service.
• Clean up your yard. Trim tree branches clear of the house, clean gutters and downpipes of leaf litter, and check your roof and skylights are in good condition.
• Use free Green Waste weekends - To help residents prepare, a Free Green Waste weekends will be offered on 11 and 12 October. (One was also on 20&21 September).
• Secure/shelter/store loose items.
• Prepare an emergency kit - torch, portable radio, spare batteries, first aid kit, emergency contact numbers and important documents such as insurance papers.
• Visit Council’s ‘Be Prepared’ website – www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/beprepared. It has a range of resources to help residents prepare:
o Three instructional videos: How to use sandbags, Preparing an emergency kit, and Preparing your home – sub-titled in Korean, Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese.
o Updated Flood Information online tools - Flood Awareness Maps showing flood risk, types of flooding, and historical flood maps.

For more information on preparing for storm season, visit www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/beprepared or phone Council on 3403 8888.



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