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Humble heroes in Hume
A cricket club on a cold and rainy Monday morning may not be where you’d expect to meet every day heroes.
But in these chilly conditions, a group of around 30 women witnessed some truly amazing stories. The women have all come to Australia from Mesopotamian countries such as Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, and now reside within the Hume City Council.
CFA was invited to speak with the group by the Victoria Police NECLO (New and Emerging Communities Liaison Officer), and with the kind support of MFB, in whose response area the group holds their meeting.
In spite of the need to rug up and gather around a small heater, the women were very keen to hear about both summer and winter fire safety. This included information about alerts and warnings and how to access services such as VBIL.
The group was also very receptive to information about the Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans, with a good discussion about cooking outdoors and how to help the fire services by not doing these activities on high risk days.
The group also listened very intently to home fire safety tips such as: the correct first aid for burns, where to buy a fire extinguisher and fire blanket and how to use them properly.
Two brave women’s stories illustrated the importance of ensuring this information reaches everyone in the community.
One woman shared with the group the story of her brother. At the age of 4, he had fallen into a fire whilst playing. A relative pulled him out and covered him with her Abaya, a traditional women’s cloak, but it was made of nylon and did not smother the fire. He sadly passed away in hospital having experienced infection. The woman’s story brought the group (and the presenter) to tears, and made the issue of fire safety very personal and real, not just something that could happen to someone else.
Another woman in the group asked about what to do if you want to help someone, but it requires going in to their property and whether you could get into trouble when calling triple ‘000’. Being able to see out her second story window, she had noticed a fire in a neighbouring property and run into their yard to raise the alarm and rouse the occupants. Frightened to get more involved, and with limited English, she had someone else call the fire brigade and didn’t tell anyone about her involvement. This quietly mannered woman had in fact helped to save someone’s property, and quite possibly, their life. By sharing her story, she helped the group realise the important role that the community plays in assisting each other, and the fire services when an emergency occurs.
A truly humbling day out for CFA, the group finished with the sharing of food and plenty of hugs for these two remarkable ladies.