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Help at hand for NSW residential fire victims GIO and NSW Fire Brigades launch Australian first recovery kit

Published: 9th March 2010

A house fire is one of the most traumatic and devastating events a family can experience. To help cope with the aftermath of a home fire, GIO and the NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) are today launching a new recovery kit with essential information about what to do once the fire is out and the firefighters have left the scene.

The recovery kits, After the fire: What to do next, will be distributed to every NSWFB fire station and carried on fire engines across the state to help NSW firefighters give practical advice to people who have experienced a fire in the home.
 
"Home fires can cause extensive damage to property, injuries and even loss of life. GIO is proud to help the NSW Fire Brigades as they provide this practical advice to NSW residents at a time when they are suffering and in need of guidance," said GIO Executive Manager, Michael Cook.

"After a fire, most families want to get started with the clean-up as soon as possible. However, it is important to make sure that damaged items are properly documented.

"The GIO funded NSWFB recovery kit will help guide victims in the right direction with their insurer and in processing their claim," Mr Cook said.

In 2009 the NSWFB responded to more than 4500 house fires across NSW.

NSWFB Acting Deputy Commissioner, Mark Brown said the recovery kits, which are a first among emergency services in Australia, contain a list of the critical items and documents that should be retrieved or replaced, instructions on how to protect the home from weather, theft or vandalism, a list of who to notify about the fire, and tips on how to start restoring or rebuilding the home.

"Helping NSW families and communities by responding to and putting out home fires is rewarding work, but it can be difficult for the firefighters to leave the scene when people are in distress.

"This kit will be an important tool to help the men and women of the NSWFB to provide some additional support to fire-affected families. The recovery kit ensures that families have the tools to help them move forward with their lives."

According to NSW Fire Brigades Senior Chaplain, Lyndsay Smith, in the immediate hours after a house fire victims can experience a range of emotions, from relief that they have survived, to devastation over the loss of their belongings and property.

"The shock often makes it difficult for them to absorb information about what they need to do in the hours, days and weeks following a fire. The recovery kit gives victims a tangible document to help them re-start their lives," said Mr Smith.

For further information about fire safety or to view the recovery kit visit: http://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=876 

About the GIO and NSW Fire Brigades Major Community Partnership

GIO’s partnership with the NSW Fire Brigades began in July 2009. Together they use their combined expertise to educate communities to protect their homes and families against potential fire risks.

For further information about the partnership between GIO and NSW Fire Brigades visit: www.gio.com.au