I seem to remember writing last year stating how busy the Rural Fire Force had been, but we have certainly topped that this year, not only with our total number of callouts for the year to date (approaching 30) but also our project for acquiring the new fire appliance.
Thank you to the Bay Trust and Youthtown Incorporated for their recent donations toward the new appliance.
A quick update on the appliance project. We have secured full funding for the new appliance which is still in Wellington being fitted-out at present. This will now be ready in February due to design issues to ensure OSH compliance. These issues have since been resolved through consultation with the engineers, design team and ourselves.
The National Rural Fire Authority held their annual boot camp recently at Muriwai in Auckland. Myself and Johnny Reihana from RDC attended this three-day exercise for what used to be called the Seasonal Fire Fighters which is now known as the New Zealand Rural Fire Response Team. Attendance at this camp is compulsory for crew leaders who are then placed on the national register for national and international rural fire deployments. These crew leaders are required to respond if available with a crew of four experienced and qualified fire fighters. All crew leaders and crew members must undergo full medicals and fitness tests. Having attended two deployments with Okareka, Rotoiti and RDC fire fighters, the experience gained for all involved is invaluable.
With the warmer weather arriving at last, now is a good time to get chimneys swept after their winter use and, if you haven’t already, check the batteries of the smoke detectors in your house.
Remember to observe fire restrictions and permit requirements, and report any signs of smoke should we enter very high or extreme fire conditions.
Also, remember to call 111 for all emergencies rather than individual members of the Lake Okareka Rural Fire Force.
For anyone wanting to contact the Fire Force, please phone me on 362 8874 or go to our website: www.okarekaruralfire.com.
Chief Fire Officer