THE NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Michael Gallacher, together with Emergency Services Commissioners, today urged people to prepare their homes and families for potential natural disasters this summer season.
"Summer has arrived and it's time to think about what you and your family need to do to be disaster ready. Whether at home or away on holiday, undertaking some simple precautions can save lives and property," Mr Gallacher said.
"Having a conversation with your family and making a plan about what you will do in the event of a disaster is one of the most important things you can do.
"Making a plan is not difficult and it could save you and your family this summer. Cleaning up around your home can make a big difference.
"Since July, NSW RFS volunteers have attended more than 3000 bush and grass fires. Some of these, like fires in the state's north, have burnt more than 10,000 hectares each.
"Yesterday, there were nearly 40 fires burning across NSW.
"We are expecting some warm weather towards the end of the week, with temperatures up around 40 degrees in western Sydney.
"Last summer saw widespread flooding across NSW with 70% of the state affected.
"The NSW SES has responded to 2125 storm and flood jobs since the start of the storm season in October."
This summer the outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology indicates weather patterns that have the potential to lead to increased bush fire and severe storm activity.
"Of particular concern is the risk of grass fires in western NSW - alongside a wetter than normal season likely for northeast NSW increasing the risk of flooding," he said.
"With summer ahead it's also important to be mindful of other hazards that the warmer weather brings such as heatwave and safety in the water.
"Our emergency services play an important and valued role in times of disaster, but we as a community also need to do our bit.
"It is also important to think about neighbours and relatives who may need extra help in disaster - particularly elderly people living alone. Neighbours helping neighbours can save property and lives."
Stay up to date with emergency services information. The best way to keep up to date on disasters is to get informed straight from the experts.
Visit NSW emergency services websites - RFS, SES, FRNSW - for up to the minute information and advice on how you can minimise the impact that disasters could have on your home and your family.
The Minister also announced the publication of A Guide to Natural Disaster in NSW including a full list of preparation tips.
The guide provides information for communities about what the government is doing and what we can all do to plan for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters.