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Bushfire Must Have Bag launched

Published: 16th September 2013

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is trialling a new Must Have Bag in a handful of leafy Sydney suburbs to encourage residents living in or near the bush to prepare for the bushfire season.

The Must Have Bag contains vital ‘must have’ information to help residents prepare their homes for the bushfire season, including a Bushfire Survival Plan and preparedness checklist.

The Must Have Bag also contains information that will help residents make the decision as to whether they stay and defend their property or leave early. It is designed so that residents can store ‘must have’ documents such as birth certificates, insurance documents and passports should they need to evacuate in a hurry.

FRNSW Community Fire Unit Team Leader Heath Langdon said the Must Have Bag was being trialled in a number of North and North West Sydney suburbs such as Willoughby, Ryde, Lane Cove, Hunters Hill, West Pennant Hills and North Rocks where 10,000 of the bags will be distributed during September.

"Serious bushfires are hot, smoky, noisy and scary," Senior Firefighter Langdon said.

"During a bushfire it can be difficult to think rationally and make the best decisions for you and your family. Being prepared is the key to survival and recovery.

"As we have seen in recent weeks bushfires can strike with little warning. Now is the time for residents to prepare their homes for the bushfire season."

The Must Have Bag is funded by the NSW State Government, the Commonwealth Natural Disaster Resilience Program and GIO, FRNSW’s principal partner.

GIO spokesman, Stephen Bell, said with summer-like conditions already experienced in September, it's vital that families prepare as early as possible.

"GIO's research* shows that at least 20% of Sydney residents live in bushfire prone areas. As the warm and dry conditions continue, the Must Have Bags will help arm families with essential information to prepare for the bushfire season and to act appropriately if their home and family come under threat,' Mr Bell said.

*GIO Home, Fire and Lifestyle Index 2013