A new fire safety training program targeted at Aboriginal communities in NSW is being rolled out across the State as a result of data, which revealed our communities are twice more likely to be involved in a fire incident than the State average.
Fire Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has teamed up with the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) to deliver the training after successfully applying to the NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services for the Community Resilience Innovation Program (CRIP) grant.
FRNSW Community Safety co-coordinator David Weir said working in partnership with NSWALC is beneficial because of the networks already established with Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) state wide.
“There are two rounds of funding with the first round focusing on teaching people skills to deal with a fire. The second round of funding will target home fire safety – installing fire alarms, providing fire blankets and an instruction book on what to do in an emergency.”
“The data was collected through a program called Mosaic which has assisted us to break down the information directly from where the incidences are occurring. The homes to receive fire alarms etc will be determined by both NSWALC and FRNSW as a result of the research collected.” He said.
NSWALC Senior Project Officer Phil Duncan says a major outcome for NSWALC, the LALC network and its members, will be a greater awareness of fire safety in the home. “It will assist in the long- term protection of LALC housing assets under the CRIP Program, but more importantly human life,” he said.
The State Emergency Service (SES) and the Rural Fire Service (RFS) are also key partners in the program.
Representatives from Local Aboriginal Land Councils in Moree, Coffs Harbour and Kempsey were the first to complete training titled “Aboriginal Firefighters Perspective Exercise”.
The participants dressed up in fire safety gear as they learned to operate fire equipment.
A vital component of the training included simulating what’s involved in a “real- life” emergency and fire situation.
NSWALC Mid-North Coast Councilor, Peter Smith, said he was alarmed to hear fire related deaths-had risen in NSW and encouraged all Aboriginal people to do the training.
“People think it might not happen to them but as the data reveals, it does happen. Learning basic skills on what to do in an emergency situation, like how to find an exit, can save lives.”
It’s hoped the training will empower mob to minimize risk in a fire emergency situation and reduce the high number of fire-related deaths in our communities.