12 December 2023

Health facilities equipped to handle natural disasters: TCHHS

| Matt Nicholls
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Cape York’s health facilities are well prepared and have completed emergency management planning for the looming natural disaster season.

The work is timely with the first Queensland cyclone of the season forming this week.

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service’s executive director of disaster management Danielle Hoins said preparations for summer started months in advance to ensure the region’s health facilities were ready.

“Whether it’s a cyclone, bushfire, floods or prolonged power outages, our region has seen it all,” she said.

“Natural disasters are unpredictable which is why preparation is important, not only for the health service, but everyone in the community.

“On a personal level, people need to have a disaster kit ready just in case they have to evacuate. In the disaster kit, you should ensure you have enough medicines, including prescription medicines, and other supplies available to last you a week or so.

“And don’t forget supplies for your pets.’’

Ms Hoins said being prepared helped the health service and other agencies to concentrate on the response to that incident.

“If you are prepared and self-sufficient at home that will not only benefit your household but keep our emergency departments free for people who need urgent care,’’ she said.

Ms Hoins said every health facility in the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service had individual emergency management plans in place and staff members were familiar with these.

“If a cyclone forms or other natural disaster occurs, the plans for those facilities likely to be affected will be activated,” she said.

“Emergency generators at all our health facilities are regularly tested and well supplied with adequate stocks of fuel.

“Our facilities are also well stocked with food and medical supplies.

“We have backup satellite systems in place for most of our facilities in the event voice and data services go down.

“This has been a significant advancement for emergency communication channels to support facilities and reduce the impact on business continuity in the event of a disaster or emergency.

“We also have post-cyclone recovery plans in place to move relieving clinical staff and repair and maintenance teams quickly around the region to any affected facilities where they might be needed following a cyclone.

“All in all, our health facilities are as prepared as they possibly can be.’’

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