Locals are being urged to ensure their home is as ‘fireproof’ as possible heading into summer.
The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has officially launched a $2 million ‘How fireproof is your plan?’ campaign as the 2020/21 bushfire danger period begins.
The public awareness campaign features survivors who lost their homes in last summer’s devastating NSW bushfires, sharing their experience so others can learn ahead of this season.
Coordinator of Cumberland Rural Fire District, Inspector Paul McGrath, said Penrith residents need to be ready for increased fire risk.
“Last season 26 people were killed due to bushfires with more than 2,000 homes destroyed across NSW, which just shows the importance of being ready,” he said.
“We had considerable rain over winter which increases grass growth and as it dries out the risk of bushfires, particularly in Castlereagh, Londonderry, Llandilo, Berkshire Park, along with Mulgoa, Wallacia and even Glenmore Park, increases.”
Mr McGrath said there are simple steps every community member can take to prepare.
“It is as easy as preparing properties by cleaning leaves out of gutters, removing flammable materials from yards, checking hoses can reach around the house and downloading the Fires Near Me app to be alert,” he said.
“The most important thing is having the conversation with family about the important decisions like when they will leave and what they will take if fire threatens their home.”
Once a plan is in place, Mr McGrath said people can check their plans online.
“They can check how fireproof their plan is by going to www.myfireplan.com.au, which will take about five minutes,” he said.
“We will send fire trucks, but we can’t guarantee a fire truck in front of every house and, with limited resources between both agencies, preparing well is so important.”
Mr McGrath said the RFS also wants residents to be aware of the rules during bushfire season.
“Community members in the Penrith LGA were able to pile burn before October 1 and now cannot do that until March 30 next year,” he said.
“A lot of people have been good at clearing properties, but we still need to be very careful when using fire.”
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers community news and entertainment for the Western Weekender.