Ouyen’s battery-change champ

This week is Men’s Health Week, a country-wide event aimed at educating, promoting and raising awareness of all things to do with the health and wellbeing of men of all ages. George Strickland is a member safeguarding his own wellbeing while protecting lives and property.

It’s been three years since Ouyen Fire Brigade member George Strickland stopped turning out on the fire truck for health reasons “unless I’m close to the station or they’re really stuck for numbers”.

Now fifteen years into CFA membership, he looked around for other ways to give back to the community and now changes the smoke alarm batteries of all the town’s senior citizens once a year.

It’s a service that’s keenly support by both District 18 headquarters and the brigade.

“[Captain Mills] Trevor puts in a request for batteries to District 18,” said George, “which gets them as part of a partnership with Duracell. I get through at least 100 a year and if we run out our brigade buys more ourselves.

“We also have some smoke detectors on hand. I replaced eight this year that were more than 10 years old, all at no charge to the residents.”

George previously served as the brigade’s apparatus officer and also worked with the Ouyen Juniors to change smoke alarm batteries around town.

While Juniors isn’t currently run by the brigade, George remains powered up for the task. He begins three weeks before the end of daylight saving and takes between one to three weeks to complete the job in between his rotating roster as a bar attendant at the Ouyen Club.

“Every so often I stop for a cuppa with a resident,” continued George, “but when I’m in the mode I can do up to 20 or 30 houses in a day. I might go to a house up to four times to find the resident at home and always leave a card with a call-back number.

“I work from a list of senior citizens that I keep building on every year. I also get talking when I’m working at the club and find out if there are any new people who need a smoke detector.”

The good feedback received by George naturally also becomes good brigade public relations.

“People are really surprised that this job gets done and really pleased that someone will go out of their way,” said George. 

“It’s a pleasure to do it and great that it’s something that’s added to the town that people don’t have to worry about.”

Author: Leith Hillard