While summer is the time to get out and enjoy the warmer weather, it also comes with increased risk of fires, storms, floods and heatwaves. Whether we live in cities, suburbs or rural areas, now is the time to prepare so if these events do occur, we can respond quickly and efficiently.
It is important we understand the specific needs and risks for ourselves, our households and our community. It is also important to stay informed, take preventative measures where you can and plan the steps you need to take when an event occurs. This includes getting:
- Fire ready. Make sure you prepare your home by trimming any overhanging trees or branches, mowing any overgrown lawn, and removing any leaves from gutters or around the house. Understand your specific needs and risks during a bushfire and have a plan in place should you need to evacuate. It is also important that you get familiar with the new Fire Danger Ratings to understand what actions to take when the danger of fire occurs in your area. Talk to your local RFS members about the likely risk of bush or grass fire in your local area this season.
- Storm fit. While storms can happen at any time of the year, October through to March bring an increased chance of strong winds and heavy rain. Now is the time to prepare your home for storms to help keep you, your family and the community safe. Check your roof and keep it in good condition, clean gutters, downpipes and drains to prevent blockages, trim trees and overhanging branches, and put away loose items that can blow around in strong winds.
- Flood smart. Increased risk of storms means an increased risk of floods. There are steps you can take to better prepare your home or business. Start by knowing your local risk and any evacuation plans in place. If you are in a high-risk area have your own emergency plan and emergency kit ready. It’s important to consider road and bridge closures and make alterative arrangements for work, children and travel. Never travel through flood water.
- Heat aware. There is an increased risk of heatwaves this summer. Your everyday actions can make a difference to staying cool and healthy. Complete the heatwave preparation checklist to understand if you are more at risk or sensitive to heat and what steps to take during a heatwave. When hot temperatures do arrive, reduce the risk and prepare your home by shutting windows and blinds, using fans or air-conditioning and avoid using the stove or oven.
You can also help prepare through community volunteering, and by knowing your neighbours and those in the local area who may need an extra hand when times get tough. It is also important to understand the NSW Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service, NSW Health and [insert local council name and link] support that is available, and how and when to reach out for help. This includes supporting your mental health.
Together, we can prepare, protect and strengthen our community to face any challenges ahead. For more information visit nsw.gov.au/get-ready