Fire station goes 24 hours
LISMORE will become a safer place from Friday, when its fire station will be manned around the clock.
Eight new firefighters will start at the Molesworth Street station, allowing it to operate a roster of four personnel 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
The new staff will complement the existing full-time and on-call, or retained, firefighters in Lismore.
The change was a win-win, said NSW Fire Brigades Northern Rivers Zone Commander Superintendent Chris Fabri.
“It’s good for us and good for the community,” he said.
Supt Fabri said the community would benefit because emergency fire responses were time-critical, and firefighters would now get out the door much more quickly. “This will raise our capability significantly,” he said.
“We will be better able to service the community in any way we are needed.”
Lismore station staff are also rapt about the enhanced coverage and because the new shift configuration varies working hours, allowing them to spend more time with their families.
It’s good for the retained firefighters, too, Supt Fabri said. “The retained staff have been very supportive,” he said. “They live locally, and this obviously is a benefit to their community, but it also takes some of the pressure off them.”
However, the new full-timers would not affect the key role played by retained staff and Supt Fabri said their ongoing commitment was vital.
The move also allowed for some qualified firefighters who had been posted to Sydney to return home to the Northern Rivers, he said.
Supt Fabri said the new arrangement fitted Lismore’s ‘risk profile’.
“We have two hospitals, an airport, a university and older-style houses,” he said.
Announcing the upgrade, NSW Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan said the Northern Rivers had grown significantly in recent years, which was why the move was good news for the local community.