FIREFIGHTERS on the Coffs Coast are replacing smoke alarm batteries in their communities to help older people live independently and safely.
The Smoke Alarm Battery Replacement for the Elderly program (SABRE) is a NSW Fire Brigades initiative where fire officers change smoke alarm batteries and, where necessary, replace the existing smoke alarms to ensure seniors have working devices to alert them to a fire.
“Our research shows people over the age of 65 are three times more likely to die in house fires than other people,” firefighter Robert Couchman from Urunga Fire Station said.
“Smoke alarms give residents an early warning of a fire in the home. Those precious minutes can be the difference between life and death.
“Another important factor to remember is many elderly people don't have the mobility of younger citizens, so being prepared and having as long as possible to evacuate becomes very important.
“The SABRE project has been designed to support senior citizens, who are still residing at home, to live independently and safely by providing assistance with the maintenance of their smoke alarms.”
As part of the SABRE program, fire officers work with community service organisations to identify 'at risk' seniors who may be interested in the program.
Under NSW law, all places where people sleep are required to have smoke alarms.
To find out about registering for the SABRE program contact your nearest fire station.