Swan Hill brigade supports local disability service life skills program

Member News image Vivid's clients were able to learn about fire safety on the day


Today is International Day of People with Disability, a day aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability.


Kimmly Johnston, a CFA Community Engagement Coordinator in CFA’s North West Region, is a strong believer in making sure fire safety information is accessible and inclusive to the whole community.

In early November, Kimmly organised a visit to Swan Hill Fire Brigade by a local disability organisation Vivid which provides services to adults living with disability. A part of Vivid’s ‘life skills’ program, the aim of the day was to help Vivid's clients gain a better understanding of fire safety and the role of firefighters.  

Kimmly was assisted by Di James, a CFA presenter who worked with Vivid to help the group get the most out of the experience and get them interacting with CFA firefighters.

“Our goal was to help desensitise the participating clients to firefighters, sirens and fire trucks, so when they see fire services at an incident or in the community they know not to be scared,” said Kimmly.

“People with a disability should never be underestimated. We saw them pick up so much from what we taught them on the day. It was such a great experience.”

Captain of Swan Hill Fire Brigade, Michael Howard, helped deliver the fire safety education and showed Vivid’s clients what CFA is all about.

“They couldn’t wait to see the truck and try out some of the equipment,” Michael said.

“We also took them through basic home fire safety training, when to call triple zero (000), what do to when you hear a smoke alarm and how to escape your home in an emergency.

“It’s really important everyone in our community understands how to help themselves in an emergency and they got so much joy from the experience. It was really worthwhile.”

Maree Miliano, Vivid’s Regional Manager for Mallee, helped organise the day and said it was a truly memorable experience for the group.

“Our clients had a lot of fun and the firefighters made it a very interactive experience for them. They enjoyed squirting the hose, trying on the jackets and the fire safety booklets and hats that were given to them,” Maree said.

Maree said fire safety is something most of the clients are familiar with, however this helped them understand what to expect when an emergency occurs.

“If we had to call the fire brigade, our clients now understand what will happen when the fire brigade arrive, the lights, sirens and what to do in an emergency.

“The fire brigade was incredible and did such a great job engaging all our clients

“This is a relationship we would definitely like to continue with CFA.”


Submitted by CFA News & Media