Local News

Catalina bushfire survivors feature in new RFS public awareness campaign

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Above: Jim and Raeden lost their Catalina home on New Years Eve, they are now featuring in a new RFS campaign. Image courtesy RFS.

Catalina bushfire survivors Jim Hughes and his daughter Raeden are featuring in a new get ready public awareness campaign launched by the Rural Fire Service today. Jim  and Raeden lost their home on New Year’s Eve. Jim, a local school bus driver, had just completed renovations on his house when the fire struck. 

In one of the campaign advertisements Jim reflects on how he wished he had done more to get ready. In another he recites a poem and says he, like so many other people displaced by the bushfires, just wants to go home where he is surrounded by reminders of his life;  can sleep in his cosy bed, and get a beer out of his old fridge. 

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers and Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter officially launched the $2m ‘How fireproof is your plan?’ campaign in Sydney this morning.The RFS says no one should be complacent this fire season and has encouraged residents to make and discuss their bush fire survival plan.

“Our new public awareness campaign this year features personal accounts from people who lost their homes in last year’s devastating bush fires. People need to understand the risk and prepare for it – and do it now. You can never be too prepared,” Mr Rogers said.

“By taking the simple steps you can prepare your property – for example, removing flammable materials from their yards, clearing leaves from gutters, checking hoses can reach all around the house.

“The single most important thing every family can do is have that five-minute conversation about important decisions like when to leave and what to take if a fire threatens your home. You can check how fireproof your bush fire plan is in just five minutes at www.myfireplan.com.au,” Mr Rogers added.

Last season, with 26 people killed and more than 2000 homes destroyed across NSW, there were many stories which emerged which show the importance of being ready.

Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said it was important to never leave a fire unattended.

“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,” he said.

Commissioner Baxter also urged people to consider the risk of bush fires when traveling around the state. “As we move into summer and the holiday period, and especially given the travel restrictions with COVID-19, many people will be visiting bush fire prone areas. While they might not typically live in an at risk area, it’s important they have a plan for the area they are visiting,” he added.

During the bushfire danger period anyone wishing to light a fire for pile burning or hazard reduction will require a permit, which is free to obtain from your local fire control centre. On days of Total Fire Ban all fire permits are automatically revoked.

To check the Fire Danger Ratings for your area visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au or contact your local fire control centre.