A weekend of celebrations will be held to celebrate the opening of Burdekin Shire’s new colourful cyclone shelter/multipurpose facility.
Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Bill Lowis said the official opening would be held at the facility on Saturday November 29 with the RACQ Get Ready Burdekin event being held on Sunday, November 30.
“Minister for Local Government, Community Recovery and Resilience the Hon David Crisafulli and a number of invited guests will be here to officially open the facility,” he said.
“RACQ Get Ready Burdekin will be for our residents to come along and find out more about this great facility and learn how to be prepared for a cyclone.
“We’ll have free entertainment, free food and refreshments and we’re going to set up a corner of the shelter to show people what to expect if they have to stay here.
“All the emergency services will have displays there and be able to talk with people about their services.
“There also will be giveaways including a generator to be won.”
Burdekin Local Disaster Coordinator Eileen Robinson said the event would culminate months of planning and construction of the new facility.
“This is a great addition to our community, not only as a cyclone shelter, but also as a multifunctional exhibition hall,” she said.
“It is important that our residents shelter where they feel safe and this includes their own homes, friends and family first.
“We now have a facility that is built to withstand Category 5 cyclones and this will help us to protect our community during extreme events.”
Ms Robinson recently completed her Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Emergency Management). She was previously the Local Disaster Centre Coordinator and had a specialist advisory position with the Burdekin Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG).
“I already had the responsibility of training council staff and external agencies in disaster scenarios, so in accepting this position I am able to put my knowledge to practical usage,” she said.
“Prior to working for Council I was the Airport Manager for Aerocare Flight Support and managed the Virgin Blue Operations in Alice Springs which meant I was heavily involved with staff management, managing risks, security, contingency plans, community engagement and building solid alliances.
“This role gave me the confidence to deal with government agencies and the awareness of being prepared for anything.”
Ms Robinson said community resilience was the responsibility of all residents.
“Although Council is the lead agency, residents should take steps to prepare themselves well before an event occurs or natural disaster strikes,” she said.
“I see my role as important to keep the information flowing to the community about the importance of building resilience.
“Know your neighbours, have an emergency plan and know what to do when a disaster happens.
“My role is instrumental in ensuring the safety of the community during an event and providing as much information as possible for the community to make their own decisions on their safety or to activate their emergency plans.”
Ms Robinson said the new cyclone shelter would only be used for cyclones cyclone that were category 4 or higher and if the system was going to directly hit the Burdekin.
“Cyclone shelters are for residents who fear their homes are not safe and have no friends or family to go to and visitors who are stranded on our highways due to flash flooding or another event,” she said.
“It is a place of last resort.”