Nursing home evacuation plans fail at the front door: Bushfire Royal Commission

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The Royal Commission into the 2019 bushfires has been told Queensland has a “huge” problem evacuating nursing homes in emergencies.

The issue was flagged by Sunshine Coast Council disaster management coordinator Cathy Buck who addressed the commission last week.

“The issue that we faced is… the evacuation plan in the majority of cases ends when they actually exit the building,” Ms Buck told the Royal Commission.

“So at that point, their plans are basically that they just handed their residents over to emergency services. They assume that there’s going to be a lot of ambulances that’ll come past and pick up their residents and take them to hospitals. That is completely not the case.”

“We do not have the resources for that.”

Aged care homes are required by law to have an evacuation plan in place.

Ms Buck believes the issue extends beyond the Sunshine Coast.

“It is obviously Queensland wide. I don’t know about other states but certainly within Queensland it’s a known issue,” she said.


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