Introducing the ‘Smoke Alarm King’ – a South Coast firefighter saving lives through home safety education - Ulladulla
Published: 12 Sep 2022 03:43pm
A veteran Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) firefighter has visited more than 400 homes during a one-person mission to save lives and protect property on the state’s South Coast.
Station Officer John Matthews has worked out of Avalon on Sydney’s Northern Beaches for 30 years, more recently commuting to and from the South Coast town he now calls home.
When he sustained a shoulder injury on the job in July, he was briefly out of action, before returning to light duties in Ulladulla.
Station Officer Matthews was initially tasked with using a computer database to identify areas where other firefighters could focus their home fire safety visits.
“Instead of just sitting at a desk, drilling into statistics and identifying target locations, I thought the best thing I could do was actually conduct some visits,” he said.
In less than a month, Station Officer Matthews singlehandedly called in to more than 400 local homes, imparting his fire safety knowledge on others.
“I was able to install new smoke alarms in homes that didn’t have them, check that existing alarms were in good working condition, and offer advice to many elderly residents and vulnerable communities,” he said.
“The people I spoke with were very grateful that FRNSW offers this service, free of charge, and it’s nice to know my efforts may go on to save lives.”
Station Officer Matthews has since returned to his normal duties in Sydney, where he will continue to inspire others to carry out this important work.
FRNSW is urging communities across NSW to not be complacent about potential risks just because winter has ended.
NSW recorded a record 16 house fire fatalities between June and August.
FRNSW is encouraging residents to book in a Home Safety Visit to protect themselves and their loved ones. This can be arranged by visiting the FRNSW website or calling your local fire station.
EDITORS NOTE: An image of Station Officer Matthews is available via the FRNSW website.
Updated: 30 Jan 2023 09:14pm
Details about this incident may change and should not be used as emergency information and/or advice.
For all life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)
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