16 new firies for Coffs Harbour

THEY respond to more than 750 emergency calls each year so Coffs Harbour residents can stay out of harm's way.

They're the brave men and women attached to Coffs Harbour Fire Station, and they had a special visitor pop in yesterday.

NSW Emergency Services Minister Tony Kelly welcomed the 16 new full-time firefighters who started work there last month when the station began operating around-the-clock.

The station now has 21 full-time and 18 retained firefighters who not only attend fires, but also deliver fire awareness programs to local schools, replace smoke alarms for elderly residents, and conduct education campaigns throughout the community.

The State Government announced in its 2008/2009 Budget a $600,000 station upgrade. Plans for this project are now being finalised and work is due to begin early next year.

“The fire station upgrade will improve the work environment for the permanent and retained firefighters,” Mr Kelly said.

“The work is scheduled to include a second storey addition, gymnasium and training area.”

NSW Fire Brigades Commissioner, Greg Mullins, said the upgrade would ensure frontline firefighters had the best facilities and equipment to protect the local community.

“It is vital that firefighters across NSW have modern and well-equipped fire stations in which to undertake training and to prepare for emergencies in the community,” Mr Mullins said.

Statewide, the NSW Fire Brigades has received more than $5.5 billion in funding since 1995, with this year's budget totalling $578.3 million.

  • In other news, a spokesman for Mr Kelly said a successful tenderer for the building of the new Sawtell Fire Station was expected to be known within weeks. However, a construction starting date is not yet known.

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