Council and emergency services are prepared
  • Tuesday 14 October 2014
Exercise Railbrake

Sunshine Coast’s disaster management response was tested today with the Council and Sunshine Coast emergency services joining a practice exercise.

Exercise Railbrake was a realistic scenario, based on a serious and hazardous rail freight derailment in the Nambour CBD.

It tested the readiness of the Sunshine Coast Disaster Management Group (LDMG), police, fire, ambulance, SES and other services.

Sunshine Coast Mayor and LDMG Chair Mark Jamieson said the joint services emergency exercise was critical in the event such a catastrophe occurred to ensure disaster response and recovery capabilities and processes were well-managed.

“This annual exercise tests how prepared we are for a disaster,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“This year we are practicing a “sudden onset” event where a situation has occurred without prior warning and without lead up time that we would normally get for events such as floods and severe storms.

“A recent hazard risk study showed the transport of hazardous materials by road and rail was a notable risk for our region.

“We have 18 rail bridge crossings on the Sunshine Coat and unfortunately, we have seen vehicles accidentally colliding with these bridge crossings.

“The possible consequences of a high impact bridge collision, including a freight rail derailment, gives us reason and good cause to test our combined plans and processes and to ensure an effective and coordinated response to a potential rail incident which involves hazardous chemicals.

“Our key goals for this exercise are first and foremost the protection of our community and testing our emergency community messaging for a disaster impacting Nambour CBD.

“We have all our emergency services agencies and volunteer support partners here today to test our plans and to ensure we come together to coordinate the necessary response and recovery activities required for this type of incident.

“It puts the Sunshine Coast Disaster Management Plan into action and provides an opportunity for council and emergency services to train together.

The local disaster coordination was set up to:

  • Test communications systems and radio networks which are vital for identifying problems during disasters and extreme weather events
  • Test equipment and emergency response plans
  • Test community evacuation procedures
  • Test community warnings, advice and social media networks
  • Practice communication protocols between disaster coordination centre and other groups (including Main Roads, UnityWater, Energex and isolated communities) to receive information about damage and road closures around the region.

Exercise Railbrake coincided with the State Government and RACQ “Get Ready Week” (October 13-19), which urged householders to prepare ahead of this year’s storm season.

LDMG Coordinator Andrew Ryan said the training exercise and Get Ready Campaign were timely reminders for residents to be prepared for disaster events, whether they were man-made or natural disasters.

“We have the fire season on our doorstep and the upcoming summer storm season is approaching also,” Mr Ryan said.

“As you can see here today, Council is working closely with our emergency service partners to be prepared for emergencies and disasters.

“The LDMG is here to help when disaster hits, but resources are often stretched so it’s important for residents to prepare their homes in advance of the summer storm season, to have an emergency plan in place, to organise an emergency kit and prepare an evacuation plan.

“They also need to prepare their home by cleaning out gutters and securing loose items ahead of the storm season and have a plan in place for their pets.

“And if disaster does occur, they need to put their plans into action, tune into warnings and check their neighbours.”

For more information on how you can protect your home against storms, floods and fires, visit www.getready.qld.gov.au or contact your local RACQ branch