Council and emergency agencies combat major headache


Redland City Council has put its emergency management capabilities to the test as part of a multi-agency exercise to combat a fictitious but potentially very real scenario for the Redlands.

Redland City Mayor and Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, Cr Karen Williams, said Exercise Headache was run over the last three days and involved key agencies coming together to battle fires burning across South East Queensland, including one at Mount Cotton.

“While the scenario was fiction, our own mapping shows a number of areas in the Redlands are susceptible to bushfires, so it is important everyone remains vigilant and exercises like this help test our disaster management plans and response capabilities,” Cr Williams said.

“ Emergency agencies were met with a number of challenges during Exercise Headache.

“The Mount Cotton area includes key infrastructure including communications towers, sewerage and water connections and reservoirs.

“Much of the water infrastructure is fed by Leslie Harrison Dam, which is already depleted due to the current upgrades, so this scenario will certainly put skills and resources to the test and ensure we are equipped to deal with a real scenario if ever faced with one.

“During the desktop exercise Redlands crews were called on to help in the neighbouring Council areas of Moreton Bay and Brisbane, providing a collaborative approach to fire fighting efforts in the south east.

“The scenario commenced as if there was a real disaster, with representatives of the Local Disaster Management Group meeting to set the strategic response to the event.

“This meeting was a who’s who of disaster management and included Queensland Inspector General for Disaster Management Iain MacKenzie, Queensland Fire Commissioner Lee Johnson, Queensland Assistant Fire Commissioner John Watson and Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Martin.”

Cr Williams said while Exercise Headache was an imaginary scenario, the messages from it were very real.

“At the end of the day we do these exercises to ensure we are prepared in case of a real scenario and I urge all Redlanders to do the same,” she said.

“Earlier this year the Redlands was faced with a potentially devastating fire on North Stradbroke Island and we know there is the potential for similar fires across the city.

“People should not wait until the fire is at their door to prepare. They should take the necessary steps now, including preparing an evacuation plan.”

More information including how to prepare an emergency plan and emergency kit is available at www.redland.qld.gov.au or www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.