Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Major upgrades to Uralla’s Fire and Rescue Station have been unveiled, in a joint announcement by Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib yesterday.

The unveiling comes 12 months after works started, in April 2023, to bring the aging station up to modern standards. The $1.6 million renovations to the 57-year-old building were funded through the NSW Government’s Fit for Purpose Program (Clean Pathways) and the Enhanced 10-year program for privacy and inclusion.

“We’ve got a really clear and important mandate, and a mission of ours is to involve more fire fighters, and particularly more women fire fighters,” said Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib.

“This is a station that is modern, it’s fit for purpose and fit for the future.”

“$1.6 million has been invested by the NSW State Government to make these facilities more usable, more practical and open to all members of the community, particularly our female members.”

Improvements include a new double bay storage shed and converting existing bays into separated showers, toilets and changerooms for male and female firefighters. Improved decontamination areas and better ventilation for PPE storage were included in the design, with the staff having direct input into the facility upgrades.

two politicians meet with two fire officers in Uralla.
Adam Marshall and Jihad Dib meet with NSWFR staff at Uralla Fire Station yesterday. (Beth Platford)

“This is a brilliant result for Uralla and deserving given the very poor facilities that the local fire fighters have had to endure for many decades prior to this being built,” said Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall.

“They now have the best facilities that anyone has access to, anywhere in the State.”

“It’s a great day of celebration for the Uralla community, and this facility will stand the test of time for many decades to come”.

“And it’s quite right that it does happen in Uralla, because this station and the fire fighters are unique – they are the only community First Responders we have in our region.”

“They fulfil the role of emergency response paramedics while they wait for the ambulance service to arrive from either Armidale or Walcha, as well as fire fighters,” Mr Marshall said.

“They do an amazing job and are much loved and respected in the local community for that extra level of expertise they bring to the community.”

Acting Deputy Commissioner of NSW Fire and Rescue, Cheryl Steer, also supported Adam Marshall’s acknowledgement of the importance of the new station to the multifaceted work that is performed by the Uralla Fire Brigade staff.

“The skillset they have is exceptional. We are very lucky to have them in Uralla, and I know they are all very happy with the new Fire Station they’ve got.”

“They’ve had input into the design of the Fire Station, which gives them some ownership of where they work and the importance of it,” said Acting Deputy Commissioner Steer.

Mayor of Uralla Shire, Robert Bell, thanked Adam Marshall for continuing to push for this project to be completed after the change in government at the last state election.

“One of the first conversations Adam and I had after the election was ‘we were promised an upgraded fire station, will the new Minister continue with it?’,” said Mayor Bell.

“The fact that the Minister is here is outstanding. He has played a huge role in this project continuing.”

“The fact that the fire fighters now have first rate facilities is great for moving forward in attracting and retaining new fire fighters, both male and female”.

The future fit direction of the NSW Fire and Rescue service was a key factor in the nature of the improvements.

“(The renovation) has doubled the size of the existing facility,” said Super Intendant Tom Cooper, Zone Commander of New England North West Fire and Rescue.

“There’s more room for the trucks to back in more safely, with room for expansion if trucks get bigger, which has been a feature of this design.”

“We’ve got solar panels on the roof which is going to add to the sustainability of the station.”

“The facility where the crew do their training and filling in reports has also been made bigger with the renovations, and they do get a lot of paperwork due to the first responder work they do with.”

The Fit For Purpose (Clean Pathways) fund is a $15 million pool for improvements state-wide. Adam Marshall has also flagged Walcha Fire Station to be upgraded as part of this expenditure. While in the region, Minister Dib and Adam Marshall will also visit Bingara for a community discussion on ways to attract more retained fire fighters to their station.

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