Port’s shel­ter is a peo­ple busi­ness

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - THE GROOVE - Shane Nichols

IT takes a whole bunch of peo­ple to run a storm tide cy­clone shel­ter, like the one in En­deav­our Street in Port Dou­glas.

It can hold 740 peo­ple if nec­es­sary, but re­gard­less of how many are us­ing it dur­ing a time of op­er­a­tion, a team off staff are re­quired – air qual­ity mon­i­tors, floor man­ager, and so on.

Re­cently Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil took steps to beef up its per­son­nel re­sources for the shel­ter, and four staff went to Cairns for spe­cial train­ing.

In a cri­sis, the state gov­ern­ment has made al­lowance to fly teams in to help out at shel­ters that may need more man­ning, which would in­clude the shel­ter in Port Dou­glas if the need was there.

Coun­cil has acted on sev­eral mat­ters that be­came ap­par­ent from the ex­pe­ri­ence of weath­er­ing Cy­clone Ita, al­most two years ago.

Cy­clone Shel­ter Man­ager Michelle Do­herty points out that be­cause the shel­ter is quite new it took an event like Ita to show up some of the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of run­ning it.

“One thing we iden­ti­fied was the need for more staff, “Ms Do­herty said, but there were other things too, more to do with the struc­ture it­self.

Ac­cord­ing to Dou­glas Lo­cal Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Group Co­or­di­na­tor and Coun­cil’s Gen­eral Man­ager Oper­a­tions Paul Hoye: “Op­er­a­tional and struc­tural im­prove­ments have been de­vel­oped for things such as the roller doors at the en­trance and the lou­vres which pro­vide ven­ti­la­tion to the build­ing which im­prove the func­tion­al­ity of the fa­cil­ity when it is ac­ti­vated.

“The im­prove­ments were iden­ti­fied through train­ing ex­er­cises by Coun­cil and other agen­cies in the fa­cil­ity and also dur­ing Cy­clone Ita in April 2014 when the Storm Tide Cy­clone Shel­ter was fully ac­ti­vated for the first and only time.

“It is com­mon for such im­prove­ments to be made to th­ese fa­cil­i­ties once they be­come op­er­a­tional and the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of us­ing them to pro­vide shel­ter dur­ing a cy­clone are iden­ti­fied,” Mr Hoye said.

“Over­all the struc­tural changes are rel­a­tively mi­nor and are de­signed to in­crease the safety and com­fort of ev­ery­one in­side in­clud­ing staff who need to op­er­ate var­i­ous mech­a­nisms to prop­erly se­cure the shel­ter while not im­pact­ing on the shel­ter’s abil­ity to with­stand a ma­jor cy­clone event.”

Cook­town Hard­ware man­ager Rick But­ler tapes his win­dows as Cy­clone Nathan ap­proaches

Michelle Do­herty of Dou­glas Shire Coun­cil

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