Spring clean for safety

RESIDENTS in bushfire-prone areas need to spring clean their homes in preparation for the bushfire season, according to Coffs Harbour Fire Station officers.

"With the dry winter this year, the potential for a serious bushfire season is very real," warned station commander Tony Lenthall.

Residents should be aware of the risk of bush and grass fires during the hot summer months.

"There are simple steps residents can take to reduce the risk to their property," Mr Lenthall said.

Preparing your home and property for a bushfire includes:

nClean leaves from gutters, roofs and downpipes regularly and fit quality metal leaf guards.

nScreen vents on roof voids with fine metal wire mesh.

nMake sure the pressure relief valves on your LPG cylinder face outwards so that the flame is not directed toward the house.

nKeep woodpiles well away from the house and covered.

nCut back overhanging trees, keep grass short and rake up flammable leaves, twigs and cuttings.

nDo not deposit tree loppings, grass clippings, etc, behind your property into council reserves or bushland.

nEnsure your garden hoses are long enough to reach the perimeter boundary.

nPlant trees and shrubs which are less likely to ignite due to their lower oil content.

nIf there is a Community Fire Unit (CFU), Firewise group or Rural Fire Service brigade nearby, become a member.

nMake sure the fire hydrant outside your home is easily located and not obstructed.

nIf you have a swimming pool or dam, place a Static Water Supply (SWS) plate in a visible location outside your property to assist fire crews. The signs can be obtained from Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and Woolgoolga Fire Stations.

"During bushfires, fire fighting operations are often limited by a lack of water, and being able to pump water from swimming pools and dams can assist greatly in protecting properties," Mr Lenthall said.

"Everyone should take the time to do a thorough spring to prepare for the fire season."

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