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Knowing neighbours could save lives

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Sunday 31 March marks Neighbour Day, an annual event designed to celebrate community and encourage people to connect with members of their neighbourhood. 

Knowing neighbours could save lives

In a first for the campaign, the Country Fire Authority (CFA), Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) and the Red Cross have joined forces with Relationships Australia, to celebrate Neighbour Day and encourage communities across the state to build healthy relationships.

Reaching out to your neighbour strengthens communities, preventing loneliness, isolation and depression.

Creating a positive relationship with your neighbour, and having an understanding of who could be vulnerable during an emergency, may help save lives. 

The person next door could be the one who notifies you of an emergency, calls emergency services, or even act as first responder before crews arrive.

CFA volunteer firefighter and Community Based Bushfire Management Coordinator Fiona Macken said being neighbourly was in the blood of emergency services workers and volunteers.

“My partner and I helped out our next door neighbour last year when she burnt her hand quite badly. My partner looked after her two kids while I took her to the ED,” she said.

“As a volunteer firefighter I often witness first-hand the benefits of great neighbour relationships – whether it’s calling 000 when your neighbour needs help, or offering help after a fire or other emergency”.

“In both my volunteer community safety role and in my day job with CFA, I speak to people about the importance of working together in prevention, response and recovery. I am a firm believer that good neighbour relations lead to great resilience.”

How can you get involved? 

On Sunday 31 March, all you have to do is introduce yourself to your neighbours, whether it’s through an organised street party, a chat over a cup of tea, or even a friendly note under the door.

Remember to share your experience on social media using the hashtag #NeighbourDay2019 or #ND19.

For more information visit neighbourday.org

Quotes attributable to CFA Chief Officer, Steve Warrington

“As emergency service personnel we often hear about neighbours calling 000 when they notice an emergency next door. I really want to stress the importance of that as it’s vital to never assume someone has heard an alarm or been able to call 000.”

We pride ourselves on being a part of our communities, and believe that closer relationships between neighbours and community members mean they are more likely to help one another and have better outcomes when faced with emergencies”

Quotes attributable to VICSES Chief Officer, Tim Wiebusch “Building healthy relationships within the community is vitally important, having a connection with your neighbours can make a huge difference before, during and after an emergency.”  “We all lead busy lives and Neighbour Day is a great opportunity to take some time out and connect with each other, building stronger and safer communities.” 

Quotes attributable to Kate Siebert, Acting State Director of Victoria, Red Cross

“Red Cross emergency service volunteers are drawn from the communities they serve. They understand that community resilience springs from strong community ties and bonds.  A community that looks out for one another during an emergency will thrive and overcome adversity. This Neighbour Day, introduce yourself to a new face in your community or perhaps embrace an old friend and together celebrate the shared experience of living in your community.”

-ENDS-

For more information please contact 1300 232 633 (24 hours) or via email: cfamedia@cfa.vic.gov.au