Reduce the damage of disasters in summer by preparing

MOTHER nature's fury is a recurring threat in Queensland, with bushfires, floods and damaging storms an annual event.

Group leader of Gladstone's State Emergency Service, Steve Felix, says the impact of natural disasters can be minimised with preparation.

"Don't expect maintenance issues to just go away," he said.

"People need to be aware of where they live and the threats of living in that area."

October 13 is International Disaster Reduction Day, and residents are encouraged to safeguard their properties for an upcoming wet season.

"Ensure your home is watertight, fix up any leaks you have now rather than later," said Mr Felix.

"Have an evacuation plan in place, and stock your home to withstand a loss of power for a number of days."

The SES also offers support to homes needing assistance in identifying areas of vulnerability within their home.

"People need to be aware that we are prepared to visit homes once, we are there to help," Mr Felix said.

"But we do not visit twice to help prepare. We have to use our resources wisely."

During the Gladstone floods earlier in the year, the SES were inundated with calls for assistance - some urgent and others not.

"There is a degree of education which needs to be done," he said.

The SES group leader remarked that due to the high number of former urban dwellers in the Gladstone region, much of the population was unfamilar with how to cope during a natural disaster.

"There is a degree of education which needs to be done," he said.

"We recieve an awful lot of calls from urban areas than rural. People need to plan well in advance and have a emergency response. During an emergency, the SES may be swamped with call outs and often we aren't able to get to everyone."

The 2013 focus of International Disaster Reduction Day is how individuals with disabilities are often challenged in making a rapid evacuation during emergencies.

In Australia, these groups receive priority from the SES.

Four SES groups respond to emergencies in the region with groups at Calliope, Mount Larcom, Boyne Tannum and Gladstone.