Cook Shire on the air with radios for fire crews

Published: 9th November 2020

With Queenslanders once again urged to ‘Get Ready’ for extreme weather, Cook Shire has gone to extra lengths to ensure emergency crews are keeping up to date.

At 105,718 square kilometres, Cook is Queensland’s largest council area and last month witnessed major bushfires that resulted in the loss of property – as also occurred in last year’s bushfire season – and, of course, is susceptible to the extremes of wet season weather, including severe tropical cyclones.

Council carries out several clean-up measures in advance of each cyclone season, including free dumping of sorted domestic waste and kerbside collection of green waste and white goods and has just, in partnership with Get Ready Queensland, donated six waterproof hand-held, UHF radios and an emergency-dedicated tablet to the Cooktown Rural Fire Brigade to boost vital communications between all agencies, contractors and volunteers during an emergency.

The radios will also provide failsafe communications for emergency crews in blackspot areas without reliable mobile coverage and in emergency situations when mobile networks are disrupted.

Equipped with a specialised app, the tablet will be used to provide offline access to maps that will help teams identify rural blocks of land. 

Cook Shire Mayor and Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group (LDGM) Councillor Peter Scott said reliable communications are crucial when disaster strikes.

“By enhancing the way our emergency teams communicate with each other during an event, we are improving efficiency and building resiliency. This ensures we’re better prepared for the next inevitable disaster which can potentially save lives, property and livestock,” he said.

Cr Scott presented the devices at a recent LDMG meeting to Acting Inspector Joe Cullen, Area Director of Cairns Peninsular Area Rural Fire Service, and Jason Carroll, Captain of the Cooktown Auxiliary Fire Brigade.

The Get Ready Queensland program is a year-round, all-hazards resiliency building initiative to help communities prepare for natural disasters.

The three steps to get ready are:

  • Prepare a household emergency plan
  • Pack an emergency kit
  • Check your insurance.

You’ll find more information and resources at the State Government’s Get Ready Queensland website.