Cairns Alert to be tested ahead of cyclone season

MEDIA RELEASE

Published: 09 October 2020. (Note: information was correct at date of publication but may have since been changed or superseded.)

With Get Ready Week starting on Monday, Council is getting ready for the wet season by testing the Cairns Alert emergency messaging service.

Cairns Alert is an opt-in service to receive critical emergency information by text message and email.

On Monday (October 12), all residents who have signed up for the service will receive a test text (SMS) message and email. Residents do not need to do anything.

The test will allow Council to check that the system is working properly and ensure information is up-to-date heading into the cyclone season.

Cr Terry James, chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, said it was fortunate that Council has not had to send a Cairns Alert since that system was established in 2017.

“Cairns Alert will only be used when we need you to take immediate, life-saving action, such as evacuation,” Cr James said.

Residents are encouraged to not only sign up for Cairns Alert but familiarise themselves with other ways Council provides information to the community.

The Cairns Disaster Dashboard collates information in real time from Council, emergency services and utility companies, as well as flood and traffic cams, and evacuation routes.

The Cairns Disaster Centre Facebook page provides weather warnings and emergency information before, during and after an event.

ABC Far North radio is critical during an emergency. If power and telecommunications are affected by an event, the radio will be the main source of information.

“Luckily, we haven’t had an emergency in recent years, but that doesn’t mean we can be complacent,” Cr James said.

“We are heading into an extended wet season, with a higher probability of prolonged heavy rain and the chance of more cyclones forming, thanks to the La Niħa weather pattern.

“So, now’s the time to start your disaster preparations.”

To sign up for Cairns Alert visit www.cairns.qld.gov/cairnsalert.

Things residents can do during Get Ready week, and in the run up to the summer disaster period.

Know your zone

Find out if you live in an area that could be impacted by flood, storm surge, bushfire or landslip and plan accordingly.

Storm surge:

Find your zone and plan your evacuation route: https://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/natural-disasters/storm-surge

Flood, fire, landslip:

Visit Council’s Property Report tool: https://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/building-planning-business/development/property-reports

Household Emergency Kit

Your Household Emergency Kit should have enough supplies to be self-sufficient for at least three days, keeping in mind a severe weather event will disrupt supply routes, electricity, water, phone and internet services.

A battery-powered radio is a must. If power and telecommunications are down, ABC radio will be main avenue to keep informed.

If you have a kit, check expiry dates on food, refresh your water and replace any old batteries.

Find out what should be in your Household Emergency Kit:

Household Emergency Plan

Having a well thought out plan means you will be prepared ahead for any kind of natural disaster.

Council’s Household Emergency Plan template prompts you to think of issues that may not have occurred to you.

Emergency Plan template

Evacuation plan

Council has two public storm tide cyclone shelter for people in storm surge zones.

They are designed to save lives, not for comfort – you may be locked in for 12 hours, there’s no beds, no entertainment, no showers, no smoking, no alcohol, and you need to provide your own food (water provided).

If you don’t live in a storm surge area you may be refused entry.

For cyclones, the best and first option is to shelter at home, or with family/friends outside the affected area.

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Last updated: 09 October 2020