Firies to get funding

By CRAIG McTEAR

AS our firefighters prepare for the summer bushfire threat, they'll be happy to know money is on the way to help them.

The State Government has allocated $12.4 million for the Rural Fire Service this year for the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Hastings, Kempsey, Nambucca, Greater Taree and Lord Howe Island districts.

RFS operations manager on the Mid North Coast, Inspector Paul Norton, said his area had received a well-balanced budget between capital equipment and maintenance and repair.

Five new vehicles would be approved, while station replacement and enhancement was also on the way.

"There's a good balance of personal protection equipment, such as clothing, with general equipment," Mr Norton said.

"We've also received last year's maintenance and repair costs."

Lower North Coast manager, David Phillips, said the funding allowed the RFS to maintain its level of service.

"It allows us to continue our vehicle upgrade program, with the addition of two vehicles in the Nambucca area, and two more in the Kempsey area," he said.

NSW Emergency Services Minister, Nathan Rees, said ensuring the safety of volunteer firefighters as they protected the community over summer was paramount.

"There still is the potential for serious fires over the next few months, despite recent rain in some areas," he said.

"RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has told me that while we are in a better position than at this time in previous years due to the rain, the outlook is for increasing warmer and drier conditions.

"Residents and landowners around the State should not make the mistake of being complacent as there is a chance significant fires will threaten their property."

Remember to clear gutters, cut back overgrown shrubs and trees, remove flammable materials and check hoses and pumps are in working order.



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