Media Release – Closures of Fire Stations putting communities at risk

media release May 2022
Latest News

As many as 50 fire stations around NSW have been added to the list of stations that could be temporarily shut on any given day due to budget cuts. On the list are fire stations in Abermain, Bellbird, Kearsley and Paxton. The process known as TOLing has created fears that lives and property could be endangered by longer response times during an emergency. Science tells us that the first 5-10 minutes are crucial after a fire alarm has been raised.

State Member for the Electorate of Cessnock, Clayton Barr, MP is concerned regarding the process of TOLing (Taking Stations Offline) and the impact of closing, depending on staff availability each day, the fire stations of Abermain, Bellbird, Kearsley and Paxton. Geographically, this creates large distances between stations that would be open and active.

Labor confirmed in Budget Estimates on 5 November 2021 that Fire and Rescue NSW proposes to let additional stations be temporarily closed when available staff fall below four. Instead of back-filling these stations with temporary staff, to keep them open, the Government will allow them to temporarily shut their doors. This is concerning as the state is heading into winter and that the closure of fire stations would require crews to be sent further afield to answer emergencies.

The practice of TOLing (Taking Stations Offline) is extremely dangerous not only for the community but delayed response also puts firefighters at risk.

“Taking local fire stations offline causes delays in the response time for emergencies as they have to come from other areas, this poses a real risk to people lives, the lives for emergency personnel and heightens the risk of damage to properties” said Clayton Barr.

“Our area have seen rapid population growth recently, the NSW Government should be investing in Fire Stations and not shutting them down and decreasing fire services” said Mr Barr.

“Any delays in emergency response times leaves our communities exposed. Residents in Kearsley, Bellbird, Paxton, Abermain and surrounding areas deserve adequate resourced local fire stations and they should not have to wait for fire trucks from other areas to arrive”

Media contact: Clayton Barr on 4991 1466