Pub­lic asks ques­tions about cy­clone shel­ter

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

WHETHER or not pets were per­mit­ted and where to park were just some of the ques­tions asked by lo­cal res­i­dents at Tues­day’s Proser­pine Cy­clone Shel­ter pub­lic open day.

A to­tal of 25 peo­ple at­tended the multi-pur­pose fa­cil­ity at the Proser­pine State High School (PSHS), to see for them­selves how it would look in the event of a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter.

Whit­sun­day Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment co-or­di­na­tor Scott Tel­le­gen said with just 1.2 square me­tres for each of the 800 peo­ple al­lowed into the shel­ter, space would cer­tainly be tight. “But it’s only short term,” he said. “It’s not an evac­u­a­tion cen­tre, it’s for just be­fore the cy­clone hits and while it’s un­safe.”

Mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney also re-it­er­ated the shel­ter should be treated as a last re­sort.

“You will be much more com­fort­able sheltering at home or at a friend’s home, which is not in a low-ly­ing area,” she said.

Built for cat­e­gory three storms and above, the shel­ter con­tains ba­sic ameni­ties in­clud­ing male, fe­male and dis­abled toi­lets. It is kept cool by mas­sive ceil­ing fans and has a back-up gen­er­a­tor and bat­tery bank for emer­gency power. A to­tal of 40,000 litres of wa­ter are stored in the ceil­ing.

Mr Tel­le­gen said in the event of a cy­clone the shel­ter would be po­liced and staffed with paramedics and se­cu­rity per­son­nel. A code of con­duct and con­di­tions of en­try will ap­ply.

About 130 chil­dren from Proser­pine State High School’s grades 6 and 7 as­sisted with a cy­clone shel­ter train­ing ex­er­cise prior to the pub­lic open day.

Mr Tel­le­gen said with the chil­dren’s help the cy­clone shel­ter team and emer­gency ser­vices were able to run through the reg­is­tra­tion process and sim­u­late how the ad­min­is­tra­tion would run in a real dis­as­ter.

DEMON­STRA­TION: Proser­pine res­i­dents Val Nan­car­row, Michelle Saint-Martin (left) and Ar­lene Robert­son (right) with Whit­sun­day mayor Jen­nifer Whit­ney and Whit­sun­day dis­as­ter man­age­ment co-or­di­na­tor Scott Tel­le­gen, at the Proser­pine Cy­clone Shel­ter open day on Tues­day.

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