Sandra, Stephen and Stephanie Wilde talk about being cyclone prepared with Cr Laurence Bonaventura and Cr Kevin Casey at Caneland Central.
Sandra, Stephen and Stephanie Wilde talk about being cyclone prepared with Cr Laurence Bonaventura and Cr Kevin Casey at Caneland Central.

Cyclone Saturday: Residents prepare for disaster

THE Wilde family knew it was time to leave their Beaconsfield home when their neighbour swam across the road to say ‘hello’.

Stephen Wilde and Sandra Wilde moved to the region from Zimbabwe only a few months before the floods hit Mackay on February 15 2008.

Despite being newcomers Ms Wilde said she were prepared as the water pooled around her hips.

Right before the floods they had attended a Cyclone Saturday information day, she said.

Since then, Ms Wilde said her family had not missed a single of the Mackay Regional Council’s annual disaster preparation events.

“We’re not nearly as nervous about cyclones because we’ve prepared and we’ve been though a couple,” she said.

State Emergency Service local controlled Selina Neill said the majority of people who came to the event were new to the region.

“They haven’t been through a cyclone before and they want to know what to expect,” Ms Neill said.

As Mackay’s population has grown, Ms Neill so to have the challenges for the SES.

Ms Neill said there had been an increase in calls to the emergency volunteers as older residents, and newly arrived residents were more likely to call for help.

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson said with the catastrophic and devastating fires currently burning across the country, taking the time to prepare was more important than ever.

“Natural disasters can happen to anyone, anywhere – so it’s crucial that each and every one of us takes the time to prepare our homes, properties and families,” Cr Williamson said.

For up-to-date information about road conditions, power outages, weather warnings, river heights and a digital version of the council’s Emergency Action Guide, visit disaster.mackay.qld.gov.au