ON FIRE: Local firefighters Brad, Matt, Anthony and Tony assist Barbara Wallace with her smoke detectors.
ON FIRE: Local firefighters Brad, Matt, Anthony and Tony assist Barbara Wallace with her smoke detectors. Trevor Veale

Can't reach the smoke alarm? Here's your fix

THE days of balancing on a chair or a ladder to replace the batteries in her smoke alarm are long gone for retired teacher Barbara Wallace.

Still living independently in her own home at 81, Barbara is not as steady on her feet as she once was and uses a wheeled walker to get around.

So when her smoke alarms started chirping last week she phoned the local fire brigade for advice and was pleasantly surprised.

"On two occasions I have had problems with some fire safety equipment in my home and both times I rang the fire brigade for advice on what to do," Barbara said.

"Twice within 10 minutes of my call a fire brigade vehicle arrived in my street and three officers, absolute gentleman, came inside to assist.

"Each time the problem was fixed quickly. I want to give a big thumbs up to our local fire brigade, I cannot state highly enough how caring and gentlemanly the officers were and I would like to say a big thank-you from an old lady who is deeply appreciative of the service."

For the crews in the big red trucks, helping residents like Barbara is all in a day's work.

The Smoke Alarm and Battery Replacement (SABRE) program assists seniors and people with a disability who are vulnerable in the case of a fire because they're not able to install and/or maintain their smoke alarms.

Firefighters visit your residence at an arranged time to install a battery- operated smoke alarm or replace existing smoke alarm batteries at no cost. All you have to do is supply the battery-operated smoke alarm or batteries.

"Don't be shy to call us," said Station Officer Matt Malone.

"There is probably not a day goes by when we don't get a call out. Fire prevention and fire safety are an important part of our service."

If you are over 65 or disabled, have limited domestic support (no access to family, friends or neighbours who can assist) and are living in your own or privately rented home in the FRNSW fire district you are eligible for the program. Contact your local fire station or call 1800 151 614.



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