Community partnership saves lives

Smoke detectors will be supplied and fitted to the homes of older people under the Victorian City of Greater Bendigo's Community Save a Life Project'.

Since February it has been mandatory for all homes in Victoria to have smoke detectors. However, older people can find it difficult to install and maintain these lifesaving devices. Mayor of Greater Bendigo, Maurie Sharkey, said generous sponsorship from local insurance agencies has enabled Council to purchase the alarms. They will be installed by members of the Bendigo Lions Club.

"Fatalities from fire have pointed out that older people are the most vulnerable to residential fires," he said. "Statistics show that between 1991-96 some 37% of fatalities from fire were over 60 years old yet this age group represents only 16% of the population. He said increased use of smoke alarms had resulted in a reduction of losses.

Community Development Officer, Trish Stowe, said special circumstances have been taken into account. One installation required a special alarm designed for the hearing impaired.

The Community Save a Life Project is part of the City of Greater Bendigo's 1999 International Year of Older Persons activities. "This project is an extension of many other services and activities already provided by Council which enable our older people to lead active, healthy lives as valued members of the community," Trish Stowe said.

For further information contact Trish Stowe, telephone (03) 5434 6431.