RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: Marine Rescue’s John Long, head lifeguard Greg Hackfath and Georges Degle. TREVOR VEALE
RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: Marine Rescue’s John Long, head lifeguard Greg Hackfath and Georges Degle. TREVOR VEALE

United in uniforms

EMERGENCY services have united to highlight their roles in the community to refugees, migrants and new Australians.

The day-long forum was held in Coffs Harbour and important safety messages were passed on to newly- resettled international residents.

State Emergency Service community engagement co-ordinator Meg Hill said the event aimed to breakdown stigmas, which were often attached to uniforms.

Police, Ambulance, Fire and Rescue, State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service, Marine Rescue, Surf Life Saving, Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association and local army cadets delivered presentations to around 100 refugees and migrants.

Georges Degle, who settled in Coffs Harbour from West Africa three years ago, said he learned a lot at the forum.

“When I came to Australia I could not speak English, so I did not know a lot about the community, now I can speak English I am learning about these things,” Mr Degle said.

An important aspect he was briefed on was beach, ocean and surf safety.

Coffs Harbour City Council's head lifeguard Greg Hackfath explained what a rip was, stressed that swimmers should never enter the water alone and urged his audience to always swim at patrolled beaches between the flags.



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