Council helping vulnerable people prepare for disasters

Published: 15 Sep 2020

Council is hosting Queensland-first free training this week to help people with support needs prepare for disasters.

The training, which has been offered to people in the region who work with or care for people with support needs, aims to ensure emergency management plans are tailored to individual needs.

It is led by Associate Professor Michelle Villeneuve from The University of Sydney and helps attendees learn how to assist people with support needs to develop personal emergency plans for disaster events.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the training is live streamed to attendees at the MECC. The first session was held yesterday with the final session today.

With more than 20 years’ experience working in regions of conflict and natural hazards and playing an integral role in the development of the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP) toolkit, Professor Villeneuve has a lot to offer.

This is the first time the PCEP training has been delivered in Queensland.

Mayor Greg Williamson said all residents in our region were vulnerable to disasters but those with support needs required extra assistance.

“When it comes to disasters Mackay has had them all – floods, bushfires, heatwaves and cyclones,” Mayor Williamson said.

“History has shown us that our best defence is preparedness,’’ he said.

“This training is so important to people in our region with support needs. We need to make sure everyone has a practical plan in place to ensure their safety in the event of a disaster.

Mayor Williamson said the need for this type of training in our region was evident by the quick uptake of the course.

“We have an array of people attending, including support workers, carers, case managers, community workers, healthcare workers, mental health workers, family members, community volunteers,” he said.

“They may be working with or caring for people with a range of support needs, including mobility concerns, mental illness, homelessness, chronic illness and people who are ageing at home.

“This training ensures that everyone in our region is better prepared for a disaster.”

The Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness training is supported by Mackay Regional Council as part of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.