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Putting plans in place ahead of bushfire season


Martin Siemsen wants the community to be prepared for this year’s bushfire season.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) District Manager for the Lower Hunter hopes that residents around the Hunter will attend the service’s annual Get Ready Weekend this week.

Mr Siemsen says the event, which will take place this Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 September, provides RFS volunteers with the opportunity to connect with their community.

“The NSW RFS is a community-based organisation, it is important that the brigade’s engage with their communities and know the people that have volunteered to protect their communities,” he says.

“This is also an opportunity for community members to consider volunteering and helping the community they live in.”

He adds that it is a good chance for people to get advice on how to be prepared and urges the community to get ready for what may be a busy summer.

According to Mr Siemsen, one of the most important steps in preparation is developing a Bushfire Survival Plan.

“Be prepared, make sure you have had a talk with your family, and everyone knows what actions are in the Bushfire Survival Plan,” he says.

“Keep up-to-date and download the Fires Near Me App or visit the NSW RFS website.

“Know and understand the bushfire warnings and alerts system, this will help you understand what action you need to take in the event of a bushfire near you.”

Several events will be held around the Hunter Region to mark Get Ready Weekend, including one in Pokolbin with local RFS volunteers.

Pokolbin Rural Fire Brigade Deputy Captain and Community Engagement Officer, Lewis Drayton, says that, while the event will look different to previous years, it is still important for the community to engage.

“Compared to other years it’s going to very different because of our COVID Safe practices,” he says.

“But people can come and have a chat with us or engage with us online to follow simple steps to prepare their property, their home, and their family to start the process of developing a bushfire survival plan.

“Having that plan is vital to ensuring the safety of your family and property.

“If you have a fire plan, it sets up a number of trigger points to know what you need to do or when to leave.

“During a stressful situation, it provides a point of clarity.”

The Pokolbin Rural Fire Brigade’s Get Ready Weekend event will go from 2pm to 4pm tomorrow (Saturday 19 September) at its station (126 McDonalds Road, Pokolbin).

For more information about Get Ready Weekend or what steps to take to prepare your property for a bushfire, go to the NSW RFS website.

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