Mackay Hospital and Health Service’s eight hospitals have completed emergency management planning for the looming natural disaster season.
Emergency Management Coordinator Jenny Luke said preparations for summer started months in advance to ensure the region’s eight hospitals were ready.
“Whether it’s a cyclone, bushfire, floods or prolonged power outages, the Mackay, Whitsunday and Isaac 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.”
A planning exercise this week considered how the health service would respond to a severe weather event in the context of COVID-19.
“Our disaster readiness happens throughout the year and this year for the first time we have had to consider how we would potentially manage a disaster with COVID-19 safety considerations,” Mrs Luke said.
She said COVID-19 had an impact on individual and organisational planning for disasters.
“On a personal level people need to ensure alcohol-based hand sanitiser and masks are part of their disaster kit just in case they have to evacuate or have limited access to soap and water.
“From a health service perspective, we need to consider how to help manage evacuation centres and other places with the need to maintain social distancing, hand hygiene and other PPE requirements.
“The needs and safety of people in quarantine also need to be considered,” she said.
Ms Luke said being prepared helped the health service and our other agencies to concentrate on the response to that incident and benefit of our community.
“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.”