Gallagher Bassett, in partnership with Insurance and Care NSW (icare), has deployed a team of cuddly recruits to the NSW Rural Fire Service.
The NSW Rural Fire Service has received 2,500 Gentle Bears to help its volunteers support and care for children who experience traumatic events.
“Gentle Bear acts as an emotional aid for children in emergency situations like house fires or serious road traffic accidents,” said John McNamara, Gallagher Bassett CEO. “These bears distract a child’s attention from the immediate, distressing situation by providing a reassuring and safe object to latch on to.”
To date, the tie-up between GB and icare has brought about the donation of 5,000 Gentle Bears to NSW Rural Fire Service brigades in 46 locations in NSW. icare, which provides workers’ compensation insurance to NSW Rural Fire Service and other NSW government agencies, recognised that Gentle Bear could play a role protecting RFS volunteers.
“Volunteer firefighters do an amazing job taking care of the community in times of crisis, however, the trauma associated with these situations can negatively impact the mental health of volunteers,” said Britt Coombe, icare’s general manager of agency engagement. “We hope that Gentle Bear will not only benefit children who are affected by emergency situations and their families but that he will also look out for the wellbeing of our RFS volunteers. We hope that the act of giving a Gentle Bear will help our Volunteer fires to feel like they are ‘doing something’ in a situation that can otherwise make them feel powerless.”