Cairns ready for terrorists or cyclones
A CATEGORY 4 cyclone crossed the Cairns coastline yesterday just hours before a terrorist ran amok on a giant cruiseliner.
Well, not exactly.
But in case either of the aforementioned scenarios ever presented themselves in the city, residents can rest assured their emergency services are prepared to handle it after both were acted out in practice drills yesterday.
More than 50 police were involved in a three-day counter terrorism response exercise at the Cruise Liner Terminal which involved luxury liner Rhapsody of the Seas which was docked at the wharf during the week.
Meanwhile, emergency services congregated at the Disaster Co-ordination Centre for a mock drill involving category 4 storm cyclone Linda as it bore down on the coast.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Paul Taylor said, less than two years before Cairns played host to the G20 Finance Minister's meeting, it was vital they tested their responses.
"It's a very challenging environment worldwide now, we've got a number of these types of vessels coming into port from an international destination, so with G20 coming up we can expect a lot more activities so that we're developing skills, not only within the police but with other stakeholders,'' he said.
"It realistically looked at if that vessel was involved in a mass casualty incident, how would the responders in Cairns react. I think the community seeing that this has occurred, I think should instil confidence in them that we're more resilient if an event of this nature ever occurred here.''
Division 1 Cr Steve Brain was co-ordinating the cyclone exercise and said they threw various variables in to test all the agencies.
"We're trying to reassure residents that the authorities they expect to be on top of their game during these situations are practising so they are,'' he said.
EMQ Area Director Glenn Alderton took part in the drill and said it was also vital residents did their own wet season preparation.
"No matter how much work we do here, if people haven't done adequate at home, it's going to be rough on you,'' he said.
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You're nicked: Constables Ryan Hocking and Celeste Batticiotto carry out a mock arrest of "terrorist" Sgt Tillett. Picture: BRENDAN FRANCIS