SES volunteer Allan Maguire knows what can happen when people don’t have a plan for severe weather or emergency events.
After volunteering with the SES for 19 years, Mr Maguire has seen the devastating impact of several disasters across the state, from the 2011 Ipswich floods to the recent bushfires in Canungra and Cyclone Debbie on the north Queensland coast in 2017.
As part of Get Ready Queensland Week, which runs from October 13 – 19, the SES and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services are urging everyone to get their families and homes prepared for severe weather.
“It’s so important to be prepared for an emergency,” Mr Maguire said.
“That means having a plan and having the essentials in a kit, ready to go.
“Grouping items together means you have access to things you’d need in an emergency, such as important documents, non-perishable food, chargers, a lighter and clean water.”
Mr Maguire said that in any disaster, it’s important to make sure your family stays safe, your pets are safe and to look out for your neighbours.
He said a simple but effective tip was to listen to local radio.
“If there’s a fire or storm, you need to have the most up-to-date information so you know where it is moving and which roads are cut off during floods or other extreme weather events,” he said.
He recalls how tough it was to work with the SES during the 2011 floods.
“I’d just moved to Ipswich the year before, and seeing the destruction it caused was a real tear-jerker,” he said.
While he initially joined the SES as something to do with his friends, working as a volunteer has grown into a passion for Mr Maguire.
“I started doing it as something to do with friends, while also doing something for the community,” he said.
“But the SES is like a big family.
“I really enjoy it – and seeing people satisfied after we’ve helped them is a great feeling.”
Volunteers Tanisha Lewis, Sarah Conroy and Allan Maguire at the Ipswich SES depot
Mr Maguire is one of 30 volunteers that make up the Ipswich SES crew, but he said the group is always looking for more people who are passionate about helping others.
“A lot of what we do is education,” he said.
“The more residents are informed, the more they can help themselves and be better equipped to handle emergency events.”
To find out more about planning your ultimate emergency kit, and understanding the potential risk of disasters, visit Get Ready Queensland.