January doesn’t seem that long ago. Memories of this year’s Australia Day storms are still lingering in people’s minds.

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Got a problem in your suburb that needs fixing? email me at lordmayor@bmag.com.au

Those devastating storms caused more than an estimated $42million worth of damage to Brisbane homes, parks and streets and during that week, council responded to more than 25,300 calls for assistance, with most relating to fallen trees and road damage.

With the warmer weather creeping up on us, I’d like to remind people to start preparing for the summer storm season. South East Queensland is renowned for its subtropical climate, which means our city is prone to unpredictable severe weather and natural disasters including flash flooding, storms and bushfires. Be assured that Brisbane City Council is well-prepared for the possibility of more storms this summer.

This year we are boosting our support for the SES to $5.5million, which is in direct recognition of how important the service is to our community. We have increased core funding to the SES by 43 per cent on previous years.

I recently toured the new $2.29million SES depot that’s currently under construction in Anstead, which will provide vital resources to the community within the western suburbs. In addition, if the area was to become isolated, the depot could act as a self-sufficient recovery centre for residents. The Anstead SES depot will also provide improved office, training and vehicle accommodation facilities as well as more space to store equipment such as tarps and trailers.

At Richlands, council will invest $500,000 this financial year to provide new facilities for the South West SES Group at the former Richlands Primary School site. Council is currently in the process of submitting the Development Assessment Application for this site.

Brisbane city’s SES unit is continually growing and we currently have 1,062 SES volunteers on the books, with more than 200 new volunteers who began their training in July. In addition to SES support, council has updated its flood information tools to further help residents and businesses understand their flood risk. This includes three new instructional videos on preparing your home for severe weather, how to correctly use sandbags and preparing a household emergency kit, which have been sub-titled in Korean, Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese.

There is plenty more information on council’s website. Some simple tips include:

  • Clean up the yard: trim tree branches clear of the house, clean gutters/downpipes of leaf litter, check the roof/skylights are in good condition;
  • Secure loose items. If a storm is approaching, secure loose items in the yard so they don’t become dangerous missiles;
  • Shelter and secure pets, and put vehicles under cover if possible or cover with blankets;
  • Ensure valuables are stored up high, if flooding is likely to affect your property;
  • Prepare an emergency kit to include a torch, portable radio, spare batteries, first aid kit, emergency contact numbers and important documents such as insurance papers;
  • Sign up to council’s Early Warning Alert Service on council’s website, which will notify residents of any urgent emergency alerts via email, SMS, and/or home phone.