June 22, 2024 3:53 AM

Fire Station celebrates funding



Singleton Fire Station will be one of the first in New South Wales to receive new dedicated female amenities and Megan Worth could not be happier.

She has been a fire fighter at the station for three years and says she feels she has been whinging about sharing bathrooms with her fellow male counterparts since she started.

The construction will start early this year and includes new bathrooms and changerooms at the Pitt Street Station.

When Megan was told the news just before Christmas she could not believe it.

“I feel we have been fighting tooth and nail to get this upgrade and the news that every station will receive female amenities is fantastic, everyone will benefit from this and not just our station,” Megan said.

“To be the first cab off the rank is great news.”

As part of the project, FRNSW will also extend the rear of the station and create dedicated transition, clean and breathing apparatus decontamination areas.

Megan said inclusion of the new dedicated space was ‘massive’ in terms of health and safety for the fire fighters.

“It means we can decontaminate after attending any event that involves smoke and remove the risk of taking carcinogenic particulates into our cars and homes.”

The project is part of a $50 million investment from the State Government and comes as a result of a visit to the station by Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell and Emergency Services Minister Steph Cook.

“I brought the Emergency Services Minister to Singleton in September to show her first-hand the need and I’m delighted that Singleton has now been selected as one of the first in the State to be upgraded.”

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said 10 per cent of Fire and Rescue NSW’s (FRNSW) permanent firefighters and 13 per cent of on-call firefighters are women.

“Women are joining our firefighting ranks in record numbers, which is wonderful, but means we need to construct separate female and male amenities in some of our oldest stations,” Ms Cooke said.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the funding is playing a major part in the continued modernisation of the firefighting agency.

“We are attracting more and more female firefighters and that’s a deliberate strategy, which is why we’re now revamping our stations to meet FRNSW’s changing diversity and inclusion needs,” Commissioner Baxter said.

“In stations like Singleton, we’ve been relying on unisex cubicles as a makeshift changeroom measure and that’s all about to change.”

Meanwhile Singleton Fire Station is looking forward to bringing two new fire fighters on crew that will increase numbers from 16 to 18, the first time numbers will be at this level in five years.

Captain Bruce Ambrose said additional numbers will mean the station can respond to events with two trucks.  The new recruits will undergo several months training before they are on the truck but Captain Ambrose said the station is heading in the right direction.

The new amenities and the increase in numbers is something he wants to see happen before he steps away from the role that has consumed his life for a quarter of a century.