Now that winter is here and there are a lot of road works around the area, it pays to take extra care when driving, especially on frosty mornings.
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in a study tour to Tasmania organised by FRFANZ, the Forest and Rural Fire Association of New Zealand. The eight-day tour provided an opportunity for rural fire volunteers to further their knowledge in fire management. The tour group consisted of myself and 10 others from various rural fire organisations across New Zealand. We were based in Hobart and went on a number of field trips to surrounding areas, hosted by the Tasmania Fire Service, Tasmania Forestry, and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service.
The information gained and sites visited provided a good understanding of how other rural fire authorities operate, and the equipment and training methods they use. Not only is this extremely beneficial for firefighting deployments but can also assist with future streamlining of rural fire operations in Rotorua.
While the tour was partially subsidised by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, special thanks must go to the Rotorua District Council for making my participation on this tour possible. Thanks also to Mijo Katavic and Richard Horn from RDC for organising the end of season barbeque which was attended by the Mayor, a number of councillors, and members from Castlecorp and the Okareka, Tarawera and West Rotoiti volunteer fire forces.
You may have noticed a film crew filming the fire station and the fire crew carrying out various training exercises just before Easter. This was part of production for a TV2 television programme called “Just the Job” which is expected to air sometime in June. The programme highlights the benefits that young people can gain from participating in volunteer organisations, and how this can influence career choices by providing exposure to different situations, skill sets and even formal training. Kierin and Jesse Oppatt apparently have signed posters of the themselves available for a small charge – better be in quick before the Hollywood offers come rolling in! Seriously, I hope they don’t give up their day jobs. Thanks to all involved in the production over two memorable days.
Membership of the Okareka rural fire force is strong at the present time, with four new recruits having joined recently. For anyone who is interested in joining the brigade or wanting to contact us, please don’t hesitate to phone me on 362 8874.
Chief Fire Officer