‘Get ready’ for storm season

Sailboats sit anchored in Ashley River as Hurricane Dorian approaches South Carolina, U.S. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

With a wet and wild summer on the cards this year, the NSW Government and NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) are encouraging all communities to be ready for a potential increase in storms and floods.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott and NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York today launched ‘Get Ready’ a NSW SES campaign to help communities prepare for the upcoming storm season.

As part of the campaign, NSW SES volunteers demonstrated the dangers of driving through floodwaters and what it takes to rescue people from stranded vehicles.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said that in the past few months, there has been widespread flooding in NSW, especially in communities along the South Coast.

“Unfortunately, some people are not heeding the warnings of NSW SES and are risking their lives by driving through floodwaters,” Mr Elliott said.

“In fact, over the last eight months alone, NSW SES has received 500 flood rescue requests from people who have done exactly that.

“You wouldn’t run into a bushfire, so we are asking the community to help NSW SES volunteers by never driving, walking or riding through floodwater – it is dangerous.

“You put yourselves, and the people who come and save you, at risk.”

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York said while storm season usually falls between October to March each year, severe weather can happen at any time and that people should always be prepared.

“Our dedicated NSW SES volunteers selflessly give up their own time to protect their communities during floods and storms,” Commissioner York said.

“It is important to know your flood risk and have an emergency plan in place for what you will do in the event of a flood.

“Don’t be scared, be prepared.”

The NSW Government has introduced a number of new safety initiatives changing the way large scale evacuations in NSW are carried out to protect the health and lives of the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as masks, will be used as appropriate at evacuation centres, with screening for symptoms in place when required. The Government also encourages evacuees to stay with family or friends where possible to prevent overcrowding.

NSW SES has 9,500 volunteers who partner with their communities prior to and during emergencies.

For more storm safety tips and how communities can prepare for storm and flood events, visit www.ses.nsw.gov.au