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Cyclone Season Balancing Act In New Role

By Ray White Whitsunday

The Whitsundays’ new disaster management co-ordinator Alicia Palmer says this week’s region-wide cyclone awareness campaign is about balance.

On one hand, she has to be super-sensitive to much of the community still recovering from the trauma of Debbie in March.

But there is also a mass influx of visitors and tradies who need education about the inherent risks of life in the tropical north.

“I just hope people understand that the intention is not to frighten or scaremonger, but to make sure our communities are best-placed to get through (a cyclone) and recover,” said Mrs Palmer of the Get Ready Week awareness drive that kicked off on Sunday.

“Our locals are very well-versed on the disasters they’ve had in this area and the hazards they may face, and by and large what they need to do to prepare for those, so I just hope people know that when we’re providing this advice, it’s for all members of the community.”

Townsville-raised MrsPalmer has been in the role for a little more than five weeks but comes to the Whitsundays with an impressive resume.

She was a key figure in disaster relief and management during the catastrophic Christchurch earthquakes that claimed 185lives and was promoted to head of civil defence in her adopted Kiwi home.

Mrs Palmer said she was impressed with the disaster management plans the Whitsunday council had in place for Debbie.

“It was fantastic to hear how this region did, especially around the early decision-making from the local disaster management group.”

While she continues to review those plans in the coming weeks, she’s looking forward to getting out into the community to help spread the Get Ready Week message.

Today, Mrs Palmer and her team will be based at Cornett’s IGA Collinsville from 9am-4pm.

Tomorrow she’ll be at the Centrepoint Bowen Shopping Centre, and then at Proserpine Fresh Fields on Saturday and Centro Whitsunday on Sunday.

Her top tips are:

1. Store drinking water.

2. Fill up the bath tub.

3. Stockpile tinned food.

4. Check on your neighbour.

5. Check your generator works.

6. Have a plan for your pet.

Source: Whitsunday Times.

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