FIRE PREVENTION WEEK
The Hon. NIALL BLAIR:
My question without notice is addressed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Will the Minister inform the House about the events of this year's Fire Prevention Week?
The Hon. Amanda Fazio:
Keeping Andrew Fraser away from matches.
The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER:
I will not make any comment because the member referred to in the interjection is not well. I will refrain from responding to silly, inane interjections from members opposite. On Saturday 5 May 2012 Fire and Rescue NSW stations around the State were absolutely smoking but thankfully not for any ominous reason. The smoke drifting out from local fire stations most likely had an appetising aroma, emanating from one of the sausage sizzles held in honour of Fire Station Open Day. Hundreds of families visited their local fire stations to view special fire safety demonstrations, to meet their local firefighters or simply to admire the resplendent red fire engines. But these exciting events had a serious purpose. The Fire Station Open Day festivities marked the conclusion of Fire Prevention Week. The main aim of Fire Prevention Week is to increase the public's awareness of the simple preventative steps that can be taken to dramatically decrease that risk.
As members will be aware, the danger period for home fires stretches from May through to September and Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins advises that a shocking 47 per cent of house fires occur during this period. The human impact of house fires is only compounded by the staggering financial cost, which GIO Insurance estimates reached almost $1.9 billion in 2011. The main purpose of Fire Prevention Week is to stamp out these dreadful statistics by educating the community about steps they can take to prevent fires occurring in their homes in the first place.
Fire and Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins and I kicked off this very important week in the emergency services calendar. Only last week Commissioner Mullins suffered a serious heart scare and underwent an operation. It was fantastic to see him back talking to his personnel and the community at Parramatta. We were joined also by the member for Parramatta, Dr Geoff Lee, who is doing a wonderful job, and the mayor of Parramatta. The launch was a great success, with Fire and Rescue NSW's community partner, GIO Insurance, hosting interactive public display booths.
At the booths hundreds of members of the public completed their own home fire safety audits—an important tool to help them develop plans to lessen the risks of fire in their homes. A number of the fire trucks were put on display for the public, in particular for the kids. Firefighters stood at the ready to offer friendly advice and take questions from members of the public and the assembled media. Education and prevention are the keys to ensuring that the community stays safe from house fires.
I remind my fellow members of Parliament and the public that a working smoke alarm alerts people to a fire in the home and a proper home escape plan will help people get out safely if a fire occurs. Even straightforward measures such as turning heaters off before going out, checking power points to make sure that they are not overloaded and remembering to turn off the stove can save lives. I congratulate Fire and Rescue NSW on this year's Fire Prevention Week campaign. I urge all members to remember its important safety message, and I thank the staff for their fantastic work in assisting me with this briefing note.