New research reveals one in two people aren't prepared for severe storms.
New research reveals one in two people aren't prepared for severe storms.

REVEALED: Our 10 most storm-affected towns

THE Northern Rivers has made the list of the state's 10 worst storm-affected regions in the state, with Lismore taking the biggest hit in the region.

NRMA Insurance released the list for the 2016-17 financial year according to their home claims data.

Making the list in the Richmond-Tweed are:

  • Lismore
  • Murwillumbah
  • South Lismore
  • Mullumbimby
  • Banora Point
  • Goonellabah
  • Casino
  • East Lismore
  • Chinderah
  • Kyogle

With the release of the data, the State Emergency Service have urged the Richmond Tweed region and other at-risk areas in NSW to be ready as storm season hits.

The stern message comes after SES and NRMA Insurance research released on Monday found that one in two people weren't prepared to weather severe storms.

Of the 1003 surveyed last month, the findings revealed 33% of NSW residents have an emergency plan and 31% have an emergency kit ready if they need to evacuate their home. In addition, the research also found that one in five regularly maintain their home to best endure storm damage.

SES Ballina unit controller Gerry Burnage said the figures did not come as a surprise.

"People think its not going to happen to them," Mr Burnage said.

Blocked gutters and fallen tree limbs are the biggest problems that cause the majority of damage to houses in Mr Burnage's area.

He said "its a pity" as most storm damage could be minimised if residents regularly cleaned out gutters and trimmed trees close to homes before storm season, which typically runs from October to March.

NSW SES Commissioner Mark Smethurst echoed Mr Burnage's message and said many of the 20,000 storm and flood related calls for assistance during the past storm season could have been prevented.

"People can be proactive now by preparing their homes, having an emergency kit ready and making an emergency plan. These steps are very simple, but incredibly effective in helping prevent injury and damage during storms," Commissioner Smethurst said.

Despite numerous education campaigns, open days and other fundraising events, Mr Burnage said engaging the community to be storm-prepared was "very hard".

"I honestly don't know how to deal with it," he said.

He said the impact of the March floods triggered a short-lived engagement and awareness by the community about flood and storm preparedness.

"It seems after a few months, people aren't as concerned with it," he said.

Over in Lismore, unit controller Melinda Mapstone said since the March flood there has been an on-going awareness about storms and floods.

But while she said awareness was high, Ms Mapstone said the unit had continued to collaborate with various agencies to harness that awareness to increase preparedness, which she said wasn't as high.

A new initiative targeting youth may help tap into a new approach to better engage the broader community, Mr Burnage said.

In its second year since it was trialled this year, Mr Burnage said a the new program takes about 12 students from four schools to meet once a week for ten weeks at the Ballina SES headquarters.

He said the program hosts representatives from SES and other emergency services to teach the students about preparedness in emergencies such as storms.

The pilot program run last year resulted in three students signing up to volunteer with the Ballina unit.

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