Gillenbah Rural Fire Service and Narrandera Fire and Rescue squad are joining forces on a potentially lifesaving mission to replace or install fire alarms in the community.
The initiative was sparked by concerns raised by locals regarding the inconvenience of replacing their current fire alarms, prompting them to approach the Gillenbah crew for assistance.
Gillenbah Rural Fire Service Captain Brett Hocking said that this was the first time they had ever attempted to carry out such a task.
“We liaised with NSW fire and Rescue because typically replacing the fire alarms is their domain,” Captain Hocking said.
“I spoke to Neal, the Captain of the Narrandera Fire Rescue and we agreed that we would both work together and do it over a couple of weekends… and we’d go around and knock over a whole heap of replacement fire alarms.
“Fire and rescue supply [fire alarms] for free and they come with a ten year battery.
“It’s the first time Fire and Rescue and us (the Rural Fire Service) have gotten together to do something like this so the jury’s out on how long it will take.
“Traditionally, older fire alarms were replaced every time a new daylight savings period arrived; however, many people often forget to do so,” he said.
In 2019, NSW Fire and Rescue reported that 25 per cent of smoke alarms did not operate during a fire.
They also highlighted that an average of 21 deaths occurs in residential fires across NSW each year, and research suggests that one third to a half of these fatalities could have been prevented if the homes had a working smoke alarm and practised a home escape plan.
In recent years, technology has made it easier to stay safe, with new fire alarm batteries now lasting up to ten years, meaning they only need replacement occasionally.
Both the Gillenbah and Narrandera teams are hoping to raise awareness and improve the safety of locals by offering to replace and install new fire alarms.
The plan is to carry out the replacements over a few weekends near the end of August and the beginning of September.
Those who are interested in having their smoke alarms changed are encouraged to call Brett Hocking after 6pm on 0427 243 467.
This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 3 August 2023.