Sites of potential evacuation centres kept under wraps

THE Fraser Coast Regional Council will withhold the locations of potential evacuation centres identified in its new Local Disaster Management Plan.

The plan was adopted on October 16 and some of its content made available to the public so people could be prepared for any disaster.

The council, as part of the plan, collected "detailed information on each nominated evacuation centres", but refused to release this information.

"Findings from the (Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry) required that each council has in place an evacuation sub-plan," Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said.

"It is left to council discretion whether to publicise the locations of evacuation centres, thereby giving us the flexibility to decide on which location would be suitable to use on a case-by-case basis, which is supported by the inquiry's recommendations.

"For example, the evacuation centre used during times of flood may not be suitable to use during the threat of a cyclone and could put people in harm's way."

When asked how people who needed to be evacuated suddenly, or who might be isolated, would learn where safe places were, the mayor said the council would use any means necessary to get its message across.

Methods could include door-knocking, text messaging, social media and media outlets including radio, television and online.

Fraser Coast Regional Council disaster co-ordinator Mal Churchill said people should work to have their own evacuation plans and kits ready, as well as keeping battery-operated radios.

He said the council could not order an evacuation - that responsibility was with the Queensland Police Service.