Helping communities to use smoke alarms properly

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Noble Park Fire Brigade is a wonderful reflection of its culturally diverse community.


With 18 different languages spoken by brigade members, the brigade is using these skills to engage with local residents and keep them safe from fire.

The brigade has been conducting free smoke alarm assessments and replacements in local households for many years now. Captain Matthew Pond said members are taking any opportunity to build education in their response area.

“It’s great to provide these smoke alarms to residents, but we wanted to ensure they were being used correctly,” Matthew said.

“We’ve started integrating it into callouts. If we’re called to a house, it will be a case of ‘while we’re here, would you like us to check your smoke alarms?’ It’s been really effective and we’ve been able to educate people about proper installation and use.”

The brigade has also recently become highly engaged with the Cambodian community in the wider Greater Dandenong area. Matthew said the expansion of the program to this community was spurred on by local Councillor Sophie Tan.

“We’ve been engaging with the Greater Dandenong City Council a fair bit on how this program can benefit more people, and our Ward Councillor Sophie Tan has a Cambodian background, so suggested it could be an avenue to expand in.

“The Cambodian Association of Victoria is a very large entity, and has been promoting the program for us. We now have about 200 households interested in smoke alarm assessments.

“Unfortunately, in some communities there’s a lack of trust for emergency services, so a large part of the program is also just building trust and reassuring people we’re here to protect them.

“I’ve got members who speak Khmer, so being able to engage with the Cambodian community in their native language has really helped.”

Matthew said the program is important to spread fire safety awareness.

“We’re an urban brigade that largely responds to structure fires, so any way we can build awareness of proper smoke alarm use is important.

“I’m incredibly proud of the brigade for being so proactive in this area.”


Submitted by News and Media