Werris Creek and Quirindi could often be left without a Fire and Rescue station under plans by the department to close the doors of understaffed small stations to save money.
That's according to the firefighters' union, which said the plan would lead to drastically longer response times, drive up insurance premiums and potentially, cost lives.
Fire Brigade Employees' Union acting secretary Martin Dixon called on the community to resist what it called a cost-cutting exercise.
"It would be naive to think that insurance actuaries aren't taking these things into account. They absolutely look at response times for incidents when they're calculating your premiums," he said.
"It could potentially have a flow-on effect where the premiums in a certain town might increase because that fire station doesn't have a guaranteed service like it used to."
Rural stations, typically staffed by about a dozen part-time "retained" firefighters, often struggle to find four available firefighters for a given shift.
At the moment, the stations are topped up by staff from surrounding stations working overtime.
Under the proposed new rule, the station could simply be shut for the duration of the shift.
"Instead of either recruiting more people or spending a bit more money to make sure the fire stations aren't being closed, Fire and Rescue's solution is to close the fire station for that period," he said.
"It's an emergency service. It's an insurance policy against an emergency. So who can predict when [a fire] is going to happen. [It's] closing a fire station to save a few dollars just hoping nothing will happen. It's absolute madness."
Mr Dixon said response times can be the difference between a damaged kitchen and a home in ruins, he said.
Quirindi's nearest station is Murrurundi, half-an-hour away, or Tamworth, nearly an hour. Werris Creek would look to Tamworth, over half-an-hour away.
"Everyone pays for fire stations to be open through the fire service levy, that's how we're funded. If you're paying for a fire service levy which is paying for a service that you're not getting, I can almost guarantee you the Insurance companies aren't going to give you a refund," he said.
"Why is your community less important than the people of the city of Sydney; they're not looking at shutting that station. It's financially crazy. It's morally, the wrong thing to do."
The department and the union will next week front the Industrial Relations Commission over the issue. Mr Dixon said that even if the FBEU loses, they will continue to resist the plan out of court.
"We need the help of local communities to fight [the proposal]," he said.
"We encourage people to write to their local state member of parliament, write to the minister for police and emergency services, write to the commissioner of fire and rescue NSW, and make your voices heard."
Fire and Rescue NSW and Kevin Anderson were contacted for comment on this story.
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