Idea starts community engagement through Sirens & Sounds Safety Festival
The annual Sirens and Sounds Safety Festival held in the Auckland suburb of Avondale in November is the result of an idea from a group of people passionate about their community.
Proactive Avondale residents including Shaun Bradley, a local business owner, came up with the idea of bringing the emergency services together at one event in response to the Neighbourhood Policing Team looking for ways to better engage the community.
Warren Samuels, a local resident as well as Senior Fire Fighter, Avondale Station, also offered ideas of how the then Fire Service could support the festival. He later became a member of the working group and now represents Fire and Emergency NZ, alongside Shaun, the Neighbourhood Policing Team and the local City Council.
Now in its sixth year, the festival is an opportunity for all the emergency services to raise awareness and promote their respective safety messages to people of all ages and cultures from the local community. The festival environment means it’s fun for families with a variety of entertainment including cultural music and dance and food stalls.
Through our people volunteering at the event and organising activities, as well as those supporting behind the scenes we’re able to promote key safety messaging like working smoke alarms, having an escape plan and home fire safety checks. The Wendy House and Kitchen Demonstrator Unit are used at the events to help people see how quickly fires can start and how they can be brought under control.
Our Escape My House Virtual Reality Goggles have been available at the last couple of events, which have proven popular with whole families. This is a great opportunity to help families understand the speed of spread of fire and the importance of escape plans.
In the last two years the services have also started to recruit at the event, which provides a lot of exposure with an average of 4000 people attending. It gives people that maybe haven’t thought of the emergency services as a career path the opportunity to speak to people and find out first-hand what the job involves.
As the event has grown there has been a need for the Sirens and Sounds Charitable Trust to be formed this year to manage funding and organisation. The Trust is chaired by Shaun Bradley, one of the locals who started the event and also helped with graphics and marketing of the event.
“The FENZ component of the festival would not be possible without the proactive support of the Auckland Area 4 Management and the Fire Risk Management Department.”
“As a resident of Avondale myself, I have a vested interest in this community, that represents a small part of a growing city, with rich, colourful, vibrant and diverse cultural demographics. At the heart of the success of our community is an event that embodies a thriving community spirit and a mutual respect with our emergency services,” says Warren Samuels, Senior Fire Fighter, Avondale.
Want to get involved or take friends, family or whānau along? Keep an eye on the Facebook page(external link) to see updates and activities for next year!