RAINFALL: Rain forecasted for Wide Bay region this weekend as Cyclone Owen looms in Australia's North.
RAINFALL: Rain forecasted for Wide Bay region this weekend as Cyclone Owen looms in Australia's North. Erica Murree

Burnett urged to stay safe as severe weather event looms

WIDE Bay Hospital and Health Service has urged the community to stay safe, as Tropical Cyclone Owen is predicted to bring significant rainfall to the Wide Bay region in the coming days.

WBHHS chief executive officer Adrian Pennington said it was particularly important for patients in the community who needed clinical support to get prepared by having contingency plans in place if heavy rain led to flooding and temporary access problems.

"It's important for people to check their medication supplies and ensure they have enough to get through the next few days - and to contact their GP, pharmacist or other health professional if they have any concerns,” Mr Pennington said.

"We're also individually contacting all our vulnerable patients, including those who may have renal dialysis or oxygen supplies at home, to discuss their needs and their care options.

"And generally, we'd like to urge the whole community to stay safe. As always, our emergency departments are ready to meet the needs of our community, but we certainly want people to be prepared and have contingency plans in place to avoid coming to us unless requiring emergency care.”

Mr Pennington urged people not to drive unless safe to do so, and to not undertake any outdoor activities that could be made riskier by bad weather.

WBHHS is ready for the weather event, regardless of its severity.

"Having been through several disaster management events in the past few years - including the evacuation of Bundaberg Hospital during the floods of 2013 - our health service is well versed in planning for these kinds of situations,” he said.

"Across our service we've ensured our infrastructure and facilities are secure, we've tested our generators and we've ensured we have plentiful supplies. We're also keeping in regular contact with our staff to ensure our essential services are adequately resourced to cope with whatever the weather may throw at us.

"Obviously we hope that many of the things we're planning for won't eventuate, but we need to be prepared regardless.”

Mr Pennington asked for the community's patience should any service interruptions be caused over the next few days.

"In the meantime, I encourage people to go to the Get Ready Queensland website for a range of safety and emergency preparation advice,” he said.


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