Casino residents are urged to take extra care next month as the only full-time firey in the town will be on much-needed leave and will not be replaced.
People needing assistance with fire safety services, including smoke alarms and fire permits, will need to contact Casino Fire Station prior to July 26.
FBEU country sub-branch secretary Tim Anderson said the four-week period would be the first time in decades the local station officer position had not been replaced for a period of extended leave, meaning many locals were unaware of the need to immediately seek out any fire safety assistance they are likely to need over winter.
‘Our local retained firefighters will continue to provide the high standard of frontline fire services the community has come to expect, but they will have to do it without the support of the station officer who carries out essential firefighting, community education, and fire prevention work.
‘Removing the full-time station officer will also mean that Casino brigade will wait for four firefighters rather than three to attend the station via pager in order to respond to an incident, inevitably impacting on response times.’
Mr Anderson said the union last month wrote to local MPs Chris Gulaptis and Thomas George and the Richmond Valley councillors asking them to intervene to prevent the effective downgrading of fire services during the busy winter period.
‘Unfortunately they appear to have been unable to have the budget-cutting policy overturned, with Mr Gulaptis recently contacting the union to say he had made representations to the parliamentary secretary for police and emergency services but had as yet received no response.
‘The FBEU is still pushing to have the policy – which impacts on 10 regional communities – overturned.
‘It’s not too late for the NSW government to overturn the policy and bring a replacement station officer to Casino to cover this period of leave,’ Mr Anderson said.
The Casino station officer can be contacted during business hours by calling 6662 6051 or visiting the local fire station in person at 43 Hickey Street, Casino.