Firefighters are urging Port Macquarie-Hastings residents to implement fire safety measures after responding to nine structure fires since the start of winter.
"Winter is our busiest time for structure fires and fire fatalities," Fire and Rescue NSW Port Macquarie acting station officer Derek Stratton said.
"Statistically it's a fact."
"We're urging residents to make sure they have a working smoke alarm and a home fire escape plan in place."
The Port Macquarie-Hastings is home to a large population of older residents, such as those who are aged over 55.
"These people are most at risk of being involved in a fire fatality," Mr Stratton said.
"Sixty per cent of fires start from unattended cooking and we are continuing to urge the community to 'keep looking when cooking'," he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the amount of face to face education sessions firefighters can carry out in the community, due to current NSW Health guidelines.
However, Mr Stratton said the local station has a strong online presence and information is still available via the statewide Fire and Rescue NSW website.
Fire and Rescue NSW have enabled members to enhance and maintain skill sets due to online education.
Face to face training attendance is limited to six people and social distancing is adhered to.
"We're still conducting shift drills and training using the station training program as normal," Mr Stratton said.
Firefighters have to think ahead to ensure they follow the strict guidelines under COVID-19 health protocol, even though the number of incidents haven't slowed.
Members are required to wear masks during non operational activities and operationally where required. They also ensure a high standard of hygiene is maintained throughout the day.
The station is not allowing visitors and off duty staff to enter the station under the current circumstances.
A screening process is undertaken for all staff at the start of shift through a pre-entry risk management questionnaire.
Mr Stratton said it's important the station abides by the health restrictions to ensure it can remain operational for the benefit of the community.
Appropriate procedures have been put in place to allow for the continued recruitment of on call firefighters as required for the Port Macquarie station.
For more information on how to join the organisation or for advice on how to protect property and lives, please visit https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au