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Message from Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook

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These are challenging times for all of us but we need to continue to focus on our core mission; protecting lives and property.

Message from Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook

This winter we’ve again seen a number of residential fires across our regions, some started by faulty equipment such as clothes dryers, heaters and flues. Our members are regularly attending these incidents and in many cases, saving lives and limiting property damage.

Preventing residential fires through public awareness and education is a critical service we provide to all our communities and reinforces our reputation as a trusted authority in fire safety.

Recent research commissioned by CFA revealed only one in 10 Victorian households have a working smoke alarm installed in their bedrooms as we recommend, putting them at risk of serious injury or death.

Just 11 per cent of Victorians think fires start in bedrooms, yet in CFA regions, 22 people have tragically lost their lives due to these types of fires in the past 10 years. This is 22 too many.

We are continuing to deliver important safety information about preventing fires, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 environment.  This includes distributing messaging through our regions, districts and brigades, as well as delivering an extended winter fire safety campaign through the media to reinforce the updated messaging.

Many of us are working from home at the moment, so we’re encouraging people to look at where their smoke alarms are located and to follow the updated advice which is on our website.

Most people already know that they must have a working smoke alarm in their homes. The next challenge for all of us as CFA members is to spread the message that households should install smoke alarms in places where it will make the biggest difference – in living areas, in bedrooms, in hallways. 

We are also encouraging people to install interconnected alarms which will alert residents when a fire starts in another area of the home. With technological changes, these interconnected smoke alarms are becoming more cost effective and easier to install.

We know from experience a smoke alarm can make a difference between life or death. I’d encourage you to continue to share that message with your communities, if not face-to-face, then through your community networks. We have many digital resources available through our Members Toolkit.

Look after yourself and your family in these challenging times and continue your important work in keeping communities safe.

Garry Cook