Taronga Western Plains Zoo staff received some critical safety advice from Dubbo firefighters last week.
Specialist fire fighting trainers gave staff an intensive two day crash course in how to handle a fire if it were to break out onsite at the zoo.
Dubbo fire station acting station commander Chris Cusack said Fire and Rescue New South Wales understood the important role Taronga Western Plains Zoo has in Dubbo and equipping staff with valuable fire fighting knowledge and skill was crucial.
“They are not only a major tourist attraction for the Dubbo community but they lead in conservation, creating connections between wildlife and people and protecting endangered species,” he said.
“Some time ago Fire and Rescue New South Wales strategically positioned several Community Fire Units within the Zoo to help protect this valuable resource from fire.
“Community Fire Units are normally teams of local residents who live in the urban bush-land areas across New South Wales.
“These residents are trained and equipped by Fire and Rescue New South Wales to prepare themselves, their families and their properties for the bush fire season.
“The Western Plains Zoo units are staffed by Zoo employees and trained by Fire and Rescue New South Wales, it is a practical and common sense approach to fire safety at the zoo.”
Western region community fire officer Tim Hall said the training was all about preparing staff with basic fire fighting skills.
“We are teaching the staff how to be more resilient to the impact of a fire in the area and they will be making the site more fire resistant and preparing themselves if a fire starts at the zoo,” he said.
Taronga Western Plains Zookeeper Joel Kerr said it was essential for staff to get up to date fire training.
“It is important because we want to play a role in supporting our local fire fighting crews,” he said.
“We want to protect our site, our visitors and our animals and also the wider community.”