Member for Kiama Gareth Ward and Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock have kicked off a confronting new campaign this week urging residents of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven to make sure that they are prepared for the bush fire season.
Mr Ward said that the New South Wales Rural Fire Service’s new ‘Prepare. Act. Survive’ public awareness campaign asked the important question, “How fireproof is your plan?”
“The message this bush fire season is clear: To give you and your property the best chance of survival, you need to seriously prepare and plan ahead,” Mr Ward said.
“Seven in ten people in bush fire prone areas say that they have a plan for what to do during a fire – but would your plan really stack up if the worst were to happen and you were facing a major fire?
“Alarmingly, fifty-one per cent of people have done nothing to prepare their property for a bush fire.
“So, even if you think you’re ready for bush fire season, there’s a strong chance you’re not.
Mrs Hancock said unfortunately South Coast residents had already experienced two large bush fires this year and knew just how quickly circumstances could change.
“The mid-August fires that burned at Ulladulla and Bomaderry were a big wake-up call for residents. Both fires blazed out of control for more than a day and many were caught off-guard.
“Thankfully, and thanks to, our dedicated local RFS brigades and emergency service personnel there was no serious loss of properties. However, we may not be so lucky the next time around, especially with summer and warmer conditions approaching.
“Now is the time to have a discussion with your family so that you’re not caught out and put at risk.
“A five minute discussion could save you, your family and your property and that’s what we are trying to get across in this campaign.
“This bush fire season I’m urging the community to ‘Prepare. Act. Survive’ and ensure they have a plan in place,” Mrs Hancock said.
Minister for Emergency Services the Hon Troy Grant MP said that the campaign shows real life scenarios that people have faced during bush fires, like not preparing their property in advance or leaving it until the last minute to make a decision.
“These are the real dangers posed by fires,” Mr Grant said.
“It’s a confronting campaign, but we make no apologies for that.
“The last thing that anyone wants to see is the loss of someone in the community, especially when that tragedy could have been prevented.”
New South Wales Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers said that the new campaign has begun rolling out statewide this week, with television, radio, online, outdoor and cinema advertisements warning against complacency.
“Already this season we have seen more than 5,400 fires that have started easily and spread rapidly, threatening people and properties,” Deputy Commissioner Rogers said.
“All too often, people’s plans have not been thoroughly reviewed and discussed before fire threatens them.
“Having a five minute discussion could actually save you and your family this bush fire season, so please, ask your friends, ask you family and ask yourself: How fireproof is your plan?”
“By visiting myfireplan.com.au you can check your existing plan, print it off and make sure everyone in your house knows what to do if there is a fire,” Mr Ward said.
“It’ll take five minutes to make sure that you’re prepared for the worst. It could just save your life.”