BE PRE­PARED

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The storm sea­son of­fi­cially lasts through to March but they can hap­pen any time of year, so if you’re not prop­erly pre­pared at home, there’s still time to make sure you have a plan in place.

“Last storm sea­son, NSW SES vol­un­teers re­sponded to more than 19,000 storm-re­lated calls for as­sis­tance, but many of these could have been pre­vented if res­i­dents were bet­ter pre­pared and had an emer­gency plan in place,” says NSW SES Act­ing Com­mis­sioner Greg New­ton.

“Safety mea­sures like pre­par­ing your home and an emer­gency kit, as well as an evac­u­a­tion plan are in­cred­i­bly ef­fec­tive.”

Start by se­cur­ing or stor­ing items that could blow around in strong winds such as out­door fur­ni­ture, tram­po­lines and roof­ing iron, which can cause dam­age to win­dows, roofs and cars.

It’s im­por­tant to keep your gut­ters and down­pipes clear as block­ages can cause wa­ter to flow un­der the eaves and into the roof.

If you live in or near the bush, have trees and shrubs within 20m of your house and live in an area with a bush­fire his­tory, it’s likely you’re at risk of bush­fire. So en­sure your home is pre­pared by cut­ting long grass and dense scrub, re­mov­ing dead ma­te­rial and rub­bish, and reg­u­larly re­move any ma­te­rial that may catch fire.

The SES also rec­om­mends trim­ming trees and branches that could po­ten­tially fall on your home or prop­erty but their web­site warns to check coun­cil re­stric­tions be­fore go­ing ahead with any tree lop­ping.

“Re­mem­ber, your safety is im­por­tant so con­tact a qual­i­fied (and in­sured) ar­borist or tree sur­geon for ad­vice if nec­es­sary,” the SES Storm­safe web­site says

“Have a qual­i­fied ar­borist in­spect trees every two to three years to iden­tify any prob­lems.”

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