4500 masks stockpiled for COVID cyclone season
EMERGENCY services are preparing for the threat of a viral outbreak hitting Mackay at the height of storm season.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted an above-average cyclone season, with more storms expected to cross the Queensland coast this summer.
Mayor Greg Williamson said if a cyclone hit Mackay during a coronavirus outbreak, emergency shelters would be forced to limit their capacity while extra face masks and disinfectants would need to be secured.
"(But) if it comes to a cyclone and flooding that's what we are going to deal with first," Cr Williamson said.
At the October Local Disaster Management Group meeting emergency services said personal protective equipment would be an important focus in evacuation planning this year.
It said 4500 masks were stockpiled ready to go and, depending on the severity of an outbreak, residents may be told to bring their own personal protective equipment.
But Cr Williamson said, for now, residents should not worry about packing masks and disinfectant in their evacuation kits.
"Cyclone season is upon us," Cr Williamson said.
"Mackay is on a flood plain, all of the urban area has been at risk forever.
"You don't need to be alarmed at the approaching storm season, you just need to be prepared."
He said residents should acquaint themselves with the emergency dashboard and have an evacuation plan ready.
Cr Williamson said residents should consider not just what to take, but what would happen to their pets, remaining belongings and elderly neighbours.
The disaster management report highlighted the need for more staff to volunteer to man evacuation centres, as only 15 people had signed up by October.
It said all State Emergency Services vehicles and equipment were ready to go, but new recruits had more limited training than in previous years.
"COVID-19 has restricted training of groups, but this is moving forward," it said.
The report said there was an average of five new inquiries from prospective SES members each week, with one or two new people coming to training each week.