The NSW SES and NRMA Insurance are encouraging residents to get ready for the upcoming storm season to help reduce the amount of damage caused in severe weather.

NSW SES volunteers spent countless hours responding to more than 16,000 storm emergency call outs across the state during the last storm season and there’s concern that number could rise with a wet storm season forecast.

“Most of the damage we saw was from trees crashing down on homes and vehicles as well as leaking and damaged roofs but much of this damage was preventable,” NSW SES Hills Unit Controller Evelyn Lester said.

“Some simple things you can do now to get ready for the storm season include trimming trees, cleaning gutters and downpipes and securing loose items around the yard or balcony.

“It’s also vital that people remember to stay out of floodwater because NSW SES volunteers have already responded to numerous flood rescues this year,” Ms Lester said.

Earlier in the year, NRMA Insurance worked with the NSW SES and University of New South Wales to conduct scientific research to prove that driving through floodwater isn’t safe.

The research found that it takes very little water to make even a large vehicle unstable. Once the water reaches the floor of the vehicle, it becomes very vulnerable, and there is enough force to make the vehicle float away.

“In addition to preparing their homes for storm season, people need to be aware of the dangers of driving through floodwater,” said Ramana James, Head of Shared Value for NRMA Insurance.

“Common sense says that people shouldn’t drive through floodwater, yet NSW SES volunteers are increasingly rescuing people who have misjudged flooded roads,” Mr James said.

The official storm season runs from October to March but storms can happen at any time of the year so it’s important people are always prepared for severe weather.

More storm safety tips are available at: www.stormsafe.com.au or www.nrma.com.au/ses.

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