Vulnerable people helped to prepare for disasters

Article image - Vulnerable people helped to prepare for disasters Mackay Council Project Recovery Officer, Elisa Crooks speaks with training participants.

Mackay Regional Council hosted a Queensland-first free training course last month, to help people with support needs prepare for disasters.

The training, offered to people in the region who work with or care for people with support needs, aimed to ensure emergency management plans were tailored to individual needs.

Led by Associate Professor Michelle Villeneuve from The University of Sydney, attendees learned how to assist people with support needs to develop personal emergency plans for disaster events.

Professor Villeneuve played an integral role in the development of the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP) toolkit based on more than 20 years’ experience working in regions of conflict and natural hazards.

This was the first time the PCEP training had been
delivered in Queensland.

Mayor Greg Williamson said all residents in the 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.

“History has shown us that our best defence is preparedness.

“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 the Mackay region was evident by the quick uptake of the course.

An array of people attended the course, including support workers, carers, case managers, community workers, healthcare workers, mental health workers, family members and community volunteers.

“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 was supported by Mackay Regional Council as part of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the two-day training course was live streamed to attendees.