OPINION: Get ready

CYCLONE Larry, Black Saturday, the Sydney Superstorm, Cyclone Tracy, last summer's Waroona bushfire - Australia knows disasters only too well.

Summer is about to start, bringing with it the increased risk of a natural disaster, and like every year we have no idea what's coming, or when.

You can be pretty certain some kind of disaster is headed our way.

Lives will be turned upside down, homes damaged, the things we hold precious destroyed, and people pushed into financial crisis.

For some, life will never be the same again.

In Queensland in Get Ready Week, we are calling on all Australians to get prepared.

Emergencies happen. We can't change that, but we can change how they affect our lives.

Being prepared isn't complicated. It's about four things: knowing the local risks, knowing your community, making a plan and having an emergency kit.

And it is about developing a mindset that will help you deal with the emotional and psychological impact of a disaster.

It isn't just about how to survive a disaster. It's also about how to recover from one.

Recovery can take years, but people who have prepared are more likely to get their lives back on track faster, with less stress and anxiety.

A key part of that is a plan to protect those irreplaceable things that matter most to you, that shape who you are - that 80s vinyl collection, your kid's teddy bear, your high school diary.

Emergencies happen.

Take practical steps today to protect those things that are precious to you.

You will never get the chance to go back afterwards to reclaim what you've lost. Plan not just to survive, but to recover.

There are lots of free resources on the Red Cross website to help you get ready and make a plan: www.red cross.org.au/prepare.

Share the resources with family and friends and make sure they are prepared too.

KEVIN KEEFFE

Queensland executive director

Australian Red Cross



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