NSW RESIDENTS URGED TO ‘GET READY’ FOR SUMMER

Bushfire survival plans, swimming between the flags and safe driving are just some of the tips the State’s emergency services agencies are urging NSW residents to follow ahead of summer.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott joined emergency services leaders this morning to issue the timely reminder and observe a rescue simulation involving a capsized boat, highlighting the dangers the summer season can bring. Several emergency services vehicles were also on display.

“Having seen firsthand the devastation bushfires have had on the Northern Tablelands, Mid North Coast and North Coast regions before summer has even begun, now is the time for communities to gear up and get ready for summer,” Mr Elliott said.

‘Whether you are catching up with friends over Christmas, hosting a BBQ or enjoying the outdoors, it is essential you are prepared and aware of any risks that may arise.”

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said summer is a particularly busy time of year for police and urged the community to put safety first. “Our priority is always public safety, and as such, police will be out in force on the streets, on our roads, in, on, and around the water, and even in the air,” Mr Worboys said.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter asked the community to be prepared this summer and make a bushfire survival plan.

“We have already seen the devastating loss of life and property that bushfires can bring this early in the fire season and we want everyone to have a plan, be prepared, and stay up to date on their fire risk by downloading the ‘Fires Near Me’ app,” Mr Fitzsimmons said.

NSW Surf Life Saving CEO Steve Pearce and representatives from Royal Life Saving NSW also spoke this morning about the importance of water safety.

“In NSW we are so lucky to have beaches and waterways that are the envy of the world, but spending time on and in the water comes with risks,” Mr Pearce said.

“My message to beachgoers this summer is to only swim at patrolled beaches, stay between the red and yellow flags, always check conditions before heading out, wear a life jacket when boating or rock fishing, and be sure to keep an eye on your mates.”

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said ensuring everyone on board was wearing a lifejacket was the simplest safety precaution boaters could take this summer.

“Boaters should also Log On with Marine Rescue NSW on their marine radio on VHF Channel 16 or via the free MarineRescue app. If you’re not back safely as planned, our professional volunteers will launch a search for you,” he said.

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York and Volunteer Rescue Association Commissioner Mark Gibson emphasised the severe weather conditions associated with the summer season.

“Checking and securing loose items such as trampolines, umbrellas and outdoor furniture, cleaning gutters and downpipes, and trimming overhanging trees and branches all can make a big difference when severe weather strikes,” Ms York said.

There are five simple steps to get ready for summer:

1. Know your risk – think about the area you live in and the types of disasters that could affect you;
2. Make a plan – sit down with your family and make a plan for what you will do if a disaster affects your area;
3. Get your home ready – prepare your home by doing general home maintenance and checking your insurance;
4. Be aware – connect with your local emergency services personnel to find out how to prepare and what to do if there is a disaster in your area;
5. Look out for each other – share information with your family, friends, neighbours and those who may need assistance.