Steph Cooke speaks from a podium to a crowd of emergency services workers, Minister David Elliott and guests at the opening of the South West Slopes Fire Control Centre.
Steph Cooke at the opening of the South West Slopes Fire Control Centre.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is calling for all residents to join their local volunteers for Get Ready Weekend to prepare for the bush fire season.

This weekend, volunteer firefighters will be holding more than 480 innovative COVID-safe events and activities across the state, in person and online.

Police and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said the threat of bush fire is as real as ever, particularly the risk of grass fires in the State’s west.

“Despite a large part of the State having burnt during our ‘Black Summer’, we cannot get complacent about this coming season, so now is the time to get ready,” Mr Elliott said.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the events will offer the chance for people to meet with their local brigade, find out about the fire risk in their area and learn about practical actions they can take to ‘get ready’. 

“Last year NSW experienced an extreme and devastating fire season that saw NSW Rural Fire Service volunteer crews go to extraordinary lengths to protect to lives and homes.

“With the next fire season upon us, it is more important than ever that everyone across the Cootamundra electorate is as prepared as possible.

“Get Ready Weekend will be a great opportunity for you to support your local firefighting volunteers by being prepared for the bush fire season.”

“In recent weeks we have announced two new mitigation crews for the Cowra region to help reduce fuel loads and support volunteers in their firefighting efforts, a new CAT-1 Tanker has been handed over to the Ganmain RFS, and the South West Slopes Fire Control Centre has been officially opened and is ready to respond to emergencies. But we can all play our part to be prepared.”

With NSW RFS preparing for this season by undertaking hazard reduction burns, maintaining firefighting equipment and undergoing training, Get Ready Weekend is a chance for local residents to do their bit as well.

NSW is already more prepared than ever before for the 2020-21 season, after the announcement of $45 million for the RFS to fast-track hazard reduction, employ 100 new paid State Mitigation Crew positions and upgrade the firefighting fleet.

Residents will be able to talk to firefighters and find out about the simple things they can do to reduce their bush fire risk, along with advice on making a bush fire survival plan.

Specific details on local events can be found at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/GetReady. And stay up to date with the ‘Fires Near Me NSW’ app.