Port Stephens residents will have the chance to become better prepared for the upcoming bushfire season this weekend, which is the Rural Fire Service's Get Ready Weekend.
Get Ready Weekend (September 19-20) provides an opportunity for residents to engage with the Port's RFS brigades, find out about the bushfire risk in their area, and to plan and prepare for the season ahead.
This year, due to COVID-19, a number of Port brigades will be offering a different ways to participate in Get Ready Weekend, from fire station events to discussing your fire plan online.
The brigade will be presenting a Facebook Live event on its Facebook page on September 19 between 10am and 12pm. The online event will include a live question and answer session and firefighters will share handy tips on how to be 'fire ready'.
Visit the Tilligerry Fire Station at 1 Success St, Tanilba Bay on September 19 between 9am and 2pm.
Visit the Williamtown/Salt Ash Rural Fire Brigade at 1 Michael Drive, Salt Ash on September 19 between 9am and 11am.
Visit the Soldiers Point Fire Station at 304 Soldiers Point Rd, Salamander Bay on on September 19 between 9am and 2pm.
Visit Fingal Bay Fire Station, 24 Boulder Bay Rd, Fingal Bay on September 20 between 10am and 3pm.
Visit Karuah Fire Station at Engel St, Karuah on September 20 between 10am and 2pm.
The Raymond Terrace Rural Fire Brigade is using its Facebook page to help residents prepare for the fire season. While it does not have an event scheduled for Get Ready Weekend, the brigade has shared and will continuing sharing a series of short videos to help residents 'get ready'. Additionally, the brigade is sharing trading card-style profiles on its volunteer firefighters to its page.
The fire brigade has also been utilising its Facebook page to help residents prepare for the upcoming bushfire season by sharing tips such as actions to take around the home to make property's as fireproof as possible.
October 1 is the start of the bushfire danger period for the Lower Hunter area, which takes in Port Stephens, Dungog, Maitland and Cessnock. A fire permit is required for burning activities during this period which runs until the following March 31.
NSW RFS Superintendent Martin Siemsen is urging residents to complete a Bush Fire Survival Plan and ensure all members of the household know what to do on days of increased fire danger and if their home is threatened by fire.
Residents should prepare their property by removing flammable materials from their yards, clearing gutters of leaves, checking hoses and, where appropriate, conducting hazard reduction activities.
"While it is important to continue hazard reduction we have all seen the devastation that bush fires can bring to a community, so I strongly urge people to exercise caution when carrying out these activities," Superintendent Siemsen said.
"Residents can ask their local Fire Control Centre for assistance in carrying out safe hazard reductions and for advice about whether they need a Bush Fire Hazard Reduction Certificate.
"With summer conditions becoming more conducive to the spread of fire, people need to be extremely careful when using fire.
"Never leave a fire unattended and if a fire does escape, it is essential to call Triple Zero (000) immediately so that emergency services can respond accordingly and minimise the damage."
To contact the Lower Hunter Fire Control Centre (which covers the Port Stephens LGA) phone (02) 4015 0000.