Urgent support sought for life saving program

SAVING LIVES: Firefighter Michael Cornish of Wangaratta Fire Brigade inspects a home smoke alarm as part of the CFA’s fire safety program aimed at helping vulnerable and elderly people in Wangaratta. PHOTO: Emma Hillier

A PROGRAM that saves lives in Wangaratta is at risk of terminating, due to a lack of financial support.

Senior station officer Trevor Logan of Wangaratta Fire Brigade said the Country Fire Authority (CFA) used to run a free smoke alarm and battery maintenance installation program for vulnerable and elderly people in Wangaratta.

The initiative used to be funded by Duracell and the Rural City of Wangaratta council, which administered the program by connecting vulnerable people to the CFA support service.

However, support from Duracell and council have since ceased, and Mr Logan said the program urgently needed ongoing funding to survive.

“It’s a relatively small cost – only around $2000 per year,” Mr Logan told the Wangaratta Chronicle.

“Duracell used to sponsor us, but they withdrew that sponsorship a while ago, and we haven’t had the support we used to have from council.

“If somebody wanted to sponsor the program, I’m sure we could make sure there was adequate advertising for that business.”

One recent beneficiary of the CFA’s free smoke alarm and battery installation program was an elderly Burke Street resident who was a victim of an alleged arson attack.

The elderly resident was awoken in the early hours of Friday morning, September 1, by a smoke alarm that was installed for free by the CFA months earlier.

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