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Media Release

Be WinterSAFE this storm season
Saturday 9 May 2015 – 9:00 AM

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is urging people to prepare their homes for dangerous weather this winter.

State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers from around the metropolitan region are meeting at DFES Headquarters today to get ready for the storm season, but the public also have a role to play.

DFES Assistant Commissioner Metropolitan Darren Klemm said there were simple steps people could take to get on the front foot to prevent storm damage and stay safe.

"While the weather is still clear, you can clean your gutters of leaves and debris, tie down or remove loose items around the home and trim tree branches to stop them falling on your roof or car,” Assistant Commissioner Klemm said.

Next week is Storm Awareness Week (11 – 18 May), an annual reminder for people to get ready before bad weather sets in.

Assistant Commissioner Klemm said storms caused millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses each year, but that some of it was preventable.

"Last year DFES responded to 91 storm incidents, with SES volunteers spending more than 3,200 hours helping people in need,” he said. 

"The action you take now could prevent your home sustaining major damage this winter.”

If your home is badly damaged by a storm and you can’t fix it yourself, SES volunteers are here to help. For SES emergency assistance call 132 500.

Bureau of Meteorology Acting Severe Weather Services Manager Greg Browning said severe cool season fronts impact Perth and the South West every year.

"There’s no reason to believe this year will be any different,” Mr Browning said.

"This could be the season another big storm hits and that’s why it’s vital we all prepare for the worst.”

Western Power’s Head of Operational Maintenance Gair Landsborough said Western Power crews were on call 24 hours, seven days a week to respond to network related incidents.

"Last year we received almost 75,000 callouts, which included fallen powerlines during storms and vehicle accidents,” Mr Landsborough said.

"It is important that everyone remembers, if they see a fallen powerline or network hazard they must stay well away and make the safe call to Western Power’s 24/7 emergency line on 13 13 51.”

Mr Landsborough said some power interruptions during storms could have easily been avoided if property owners were storm ready.

"Check the plants on your property and make sure the foliage is at least 2.5 metres away from powerlines,” he said.

"If you do need to trim branches near powerlines we recommend you hire a professional tree pruner to do the job as safely as possible.”

WHAT TO DO:
DFES and Western Power recommend a number of safety measures to prepare for storm season including:
• clear gutters and downpipes of leaves and blockages so they don’t overflow after heavy rain
• check your roof for cracked ridge capping, loose tiles or loose screws or nails
• remove loose items from around your home and ensure trampolines and other play equipment are sufficiently secured to the ground
• trim branches around your home to prevent them falling on roofs or cars
• ensure branches are at least 2.5 metres away from powerlines and hire a qualified contractor to safely remove branches as necessary.
• If you see a fallen powerline, stay well away and make the safe call to the Western Power 24/7 emergency line on 13 13 51.
• prepare an emergency kit including a first aid kit and a car charger for your mobile phone.
• If your home is badly damaged by a storm and you can’t fix it yourself call 132 500 for SES emergency assistance.

For more advice about storm safety visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/WinterSAFE

END

Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9225 5955 

 

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