The safety of residents is the primary driver for evacuation. Evacuation carries risks to both those being evacuated and to emergency personnel managing the evacuation. Consideration must be given to the risks associated with the conduct of any evacuation and be aware that, under some circumstances, sheltering in place may provide greater levels of safety for the community.
There are five stages that apply to each evacuation.
- Decision to evacuate
The first preference is for people to ‘shelter-in-place’ – stay where you are. Evacuations should only occur when the risk of sheltering in place is greater than the risk associated with leaving and moving to a place of lower risk.
In some circumstances, voluntary evacuation may be recommended. The Redland City LDMG would advise residents to self-evacuate based on field intelligence and consultation with relevant advisory authorities. Self-evacuation is carried out pre-impact whilst conditions and time are favourable.
When a mandatory evacuation is ordered, evacuees must, by law, obey all directions given to them by a Police Officer or a Declared Disaster Officer. Queensland legislation provides extra-ordinary powers to authorised officers including the power to evacuate, exclude and remove persons who do not comply with a direction to evacuate. It is an offence not to comply with the directions given to evacuate in these circumstances.
No matter what decision is made, whether it is: shelter-in-place, voluntary evacuation or mandatory evacuation, the messages need to be clearly communicated to the affected community.
The community will be advised through local radio – ABC 612 AM and Bay FM 100.3, Redland City Council news site, Twitter and Facebook if they may be affected, to what extent and what actions they should take. Warnings may take the form of advice that a hazard is impacting, or is expected to impact; an instruction to shelter-in-place or a direction to evacuate. The warning may be for voluntary evacuation or mandatory evacuation. Evacuation warnings may be authorised by the DDC, after consultation with the Redland City LDMG; or they may be issued locally by a QPS or QFES officer.
Evacuation warnings will be issued to communities by a range of methods including:
- Local radio – Bay FM 100.3 and ABC 612 AM
- The Redland City Council news site
- Redland City Council’s social media: Twitter and Facebook
- Word of mouth through RCC, QPS, QFES and SES
- Door knocking and vehicle mounted PA systems through RCC, QPS, QFES and SES.
It is critical that the warning messages are received and understood by the affected community to allow for a safe evacuation of people.
The process of withdrawal involves the physical and coordinated movement of persons to a safer location such as an Evacuation Centre.
Withdrawal requires comprehensive and coordinated planning to determine evacuation priorities (e.g. injured, elderly, children, special needs groups) and support the movement of all exposed persons in a timely manner. Directions given by emergency services should be followed in all circumstances. Evacuees should ensure their property is secure and their home is locked prior to evacuation, where it is safe to do so.
The opening of an Evacuation Centre will be broadcast to the community using the mediums identified under Stage 2 – Warnings. The registration of evacuees will be in accordance with the Register.Find.Reunite service and will be administered by the Australian Red Cross and RCC. View the full list of available evacuation sites for mainland Redland City here.
The shelter phase primarily relates to the provision of evacuation centres, and the receiving, registration and temporary accommodation of evacuees. Evacuation centres offer temporary respite to evacuees and should only be utilised when other self-accommodation arrangements (such as staying with family and friends not within the impacted area) are not available. Evacuation centres are not assessed nor rated for cyclones and storms so people not evacuated are encouraged to shelter in their own residence. Evacuation centres are specified in Section 2 of this plan.
The decision to evacuate residents from their homes brings with it the issue of evacuation and care of domestic animals. Where practical, pets will be co-located with their owners at the Evacuation Centre. Where this is impractical, pets will be taken to another secure location to ensure their safety. “Seeing Eye” dogs and “Assistant” dogs for sight impaired and disabled persons will have priority over all other animals. If co-located at an evacuation centre, owners take full responsibility for the care of their pets. When safe to do so, every effort will be made to return evacuees and their pets to their homes.
The time taken to return to homes will vary depending on the severity of the event and damage sustained. The Redland City LDMG and its members will assess the social, economic, environmental and infrastructure impacts to that area. The Redland City LDMG will coordinate a phased return of evacuees and other associated requirements as necessary.