Disaster exercise seeks innovative responses

Published: 21 Oct 2015 8:04am

“Cyclone Tango” will unleash its fury on Townsville today – but local residents have nothing to fear.

The mock cyclone scenario is playing out at a disaster simulation event in Townsville being hosted by Ergon Energy as part of its planning for the summer storm and cyclone season.

A range of agencies including the Defence Force, police, councils, Telstra, the Red Cross and other electricity business from Queensland and interstate will participate in the day-long event.

Chief Executive Ian McLeod said they would review what had and had not worked in previous disaster recoveries, but would primarily focus on what could be possible in emergency management in the future.

“In particular, we will look at opportunities to leverage technology and information to inform smarter direction of resources and investment into the network both before and following a natural disaster to minimise loss and improve recovery outcomes,” he said.

“This will assist us to identify ways to reduce the costs of emergency management and response, which can be millions of dollars a day just for Ergon, but more importantly reduce the social impact and economic losses suffered by impacted communities.

“Our responses to the major cyclone and flood events that have impacted regional Queensland over the past few years have been acclaimed by the affected communities.

“But we are not resting on our laurels and want to take a quantum leap forward in the way we engage, build resilience, direct resources and plan for crisis events.

“Our aim is to better direct resources and investment in the network to mitigate loss from severe natural events by modelling impacts and identifying likely impacts on critical network and community infrastructure up front and hardening the network, leveraging new energy technology such as microgrids, battery storage and spatial mapping integrated with asset information.”

Today's simulation event is a final workshop of the Disaster Planning, Resilience, Response and Recovery Innovation series that has included sessions in Townsville, Cairns and Brisbane.

The innovations from these forums will be applied to the broader network and customer base and built into future operational plans.

Media Contact: John Fowler
Phone: 07 4432 8730

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