Hosing down old fears

Crawling through smoke-filled houses and blasting water from a fireman’s hose acted as some Sudanese children’s introduction to the Country Fire Authority at a family day in Moe on Thursday.

About 65 adults and children attended the event at Elizabeth Street Primary School, where they got up close to a CFA inflatable smoke-house and fire truck and were shown a home fire safety presentation.

CFA Gippsland community education project officer Craig Dunshea shared tips on how to prevent house fires using simple measures, such as removing laptops off beds and recognising when a kitchen appliance was no longer safe.

Mr Dunshea said the family day was a good opportunity to introduce the largely-volunteer organisation to Sudanese families.

“I think it’s our responsibility to help educate people… just to break down cultural barriers really,” Mr Dunshea said.

Moe resident Katharina Kolen said her children had a fun time and she found the information helpful.

“It was good. It gave us some ideas,” Ms Kolen said.

The event was facilitated by Good Beginnings, Latrobe Community Health Service, Centrelink and the Centre for Multicultural Youth.

Good Beginnings site manager Michelle Stewart said the aim of the day was to reduce any fear of the CFA uniform to the community, as there could be a stigma attached to it when they came from a country where men in uniform were to be feared.

Ms Stewart said the event was part of a 12-month program, which began in July, and aimed to link the Sudanese community to support services that were available through monthly sessions.

“In addition to monthly sessions, we also have one-on-one support and a drop in service,” Ms Stewart.

The next event will be held at Good Beginnings, Prince Street, Moe on Thursday, 6 November from 1pm to 3pm, with guests from the Gippsland Community Legal Service to attend.