NATURAL disaster experts say floods from a predicted cyclone in the upcoming storm season could affect 6000 homes in the Ipswich area.
That’s six times more homes than were inundated during the notorious floods in January 1974.
With weather forecasters predicting a weather event similar to the 74 floods, authorities say now is the time for people to prepare.
The State Emergency Service (SES) says residents have to take steps themselves rather than wait for rescue crews to help them.
The Ipswich Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) met yesterday at SES headquarters to assess the city’s flood readiness.
The LDMG is made up of natural disaster experts from groups including the council, ambulance, police, fire service and the State Government.
LDMG deputy chairman Trevor Nardi said that in 1974 just over 1000 properties were affected. Now it could be 6000.
Cr Nardi said flood monitors were being tested, alerts refined and Ipswich Showgrounds investigated as an emergency assembly point.
Emergency Management Queensland (EMQ) regional director Eddie Bennet said there was “a big chance of the similar weather event to the 74 floods”.
“The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is forecasting severe storms and tropical cyclones,” Mr Bennet said.
“Some of the weather websites are predicting seven or more cyclones but the bureau is saying six, with one crossing the coast in the south east.
“So there’s more storms, that means more rain and that means more flooding. There are a lot of parallels with the 74 floods.”
SES Ipswich controller Are van den Ende said some people were already taking steps to get ready for flooding.
“We’ve had a large number of requests for sandbags,” Mr van den Ende said.
“We’ve been giving out 20 a day so the 800 stacked up the back is decreasing all the time.”
He was also looking at inflatable sandbags for elderly people.
He said people should realise the SES was there to rescue people, not perform tasks such as moving furniture out of flooded homes.
“The SES will be busy taking care of people; they won’t be able to do things like move furniture,” he said.
“The focus is on lives not furniture.”
He said people had to be prepared to move if need be and take into account items such as medication and pets and making sure cars were moved to higher ground.
“People should have a plan of where they are going to move to if they are in inundated areas,” he said. “We’ve got to get people to think about it. It’s not the sort of thing people think about every day.
“They have to decide: do I stay, do I go, when I go, do I take my furniture?”
Meanwhile, the third trial of Queensland’s new emergency alert system was conducted at Esk on Monday night.
The $15 million telephone-based emergency system alerts all residents who have a billing address in an affected area.
Step 1: Prepare your household emergency plan
Step 2: Prepare an emergency kit and evacuation kit
Step 3: Prepare your home
Step 4: Tune into warnings on the radio