ELDERLY or disabled Shoalhaven residents are being urged to make use of the NSW Rural Fire Service’s AIDER Program.
The Assistance for Inform, Disabled and Elderly Residents (AIDER) scheme is a one-off free service to reduce bushfire hazards.
RFS Shoalhaven community engagement officer Tony Simmonds said there had been a slow take-up of the service in the Shoalhaven.
“We have 96,000 residents but so far the RFS has only had 70 calls to use the free AIDER program,” he said.
“Considering we live in a high bushfire area, with an ageing population, I would have thought this sort of service would have been in high demand.”
Mr Simmonds said the program sees RFS personnel visit homes and properties, inspecting for any possible bushfire risks.
“If it is identified work is needed to be undertaken, RFS State Mitigation Support Service (SMSS) personnel will then return to the location and carry out the work,” he said.
SMSS personnel will undertake the thinning of vegetation, remove leaves, sticks and broken branches, trim any overhanging branches from around the home, mow or slash long grass and clean out gutters.
“The scheme is aimed at aged residents or residents with disabling conditions who have limited domestic support from family, relatives, friends or other services,” he said.
“It is a free one-off service to ensure people’s homes and properties are prepared for the upcoming fire season.
“And we will also be talk to residents about creating their Bushfire Survival Plans.”
Mr Simmonds said the service was available across the state.
“All calls go to a central area and are then referred to the relevant districts,” he said.
To make use of the AIDER Program and have an assessment made of your home or property call 8741 4955.