On 13 June, the Lake Okareka Fire Force hosted an open night at the fire station to present the initial concept plans for the proposed development of the new fire and emergency station, and community civil defence resilience centre. Despite a cold, drizzly evening, there was a great turnout of local residents, both young and old. The discussions were supported by Fire and Emergency New Zealand personnel from local rural and urban units, and National Headquarters. Rotorua Lakes Council staff were also available to answer questions. Special thanks to the Deputy Mayor, Dave Donaldson, for his support.
The presentation provided an overview of emergency response over the last five years by the Lake Okareka Fire Force, and the aim to further build capability and community resilience for Lake Okareka and the wider district through the new station building and the facilities it will house.
Thanks to all those who came along for the evening, and the input and suggestions provided, which will be taken on board as the building design is finalised. The support and response from the community has been fantastic. If you have any queries or would still like to provide feedback on this project, please contact myself (021 890 508) or Dave Herries (021 435 623).
Over the last month or so, the Lake Okareka Fire Force has attended a number of callouts from the flooding in Rotorua City and Ngongotaha, to fallen trees and a roof that blew off in the high winds, and a number of fire-related incidents. These various incidents reflect the need for an integrated fire, emergency and civil defence response service, not only in our local area but across the district.
On another note, a team of seven members from Lake Okareka competed in the annual Sky Tower Firefighter Stair Climb, again taking out first place for the Donned team category for the fifth consecutive year. This year’s team included: Lewis Shaw, Thomas Firth, Sam Weir and Quinn McCarthy who took out 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th places respectively in the Open Donned category, along with Amber Muldoon who placed 6th in the Open Donned women, Matthew Carroll and myself. The team fundraised almost $7,000 for Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand, with overall fundraising for the event achieving a massive $1.27 million.
Finally, with the cooler months setting in, now is the time to make sure your chimneys have been swept, and to take care on the roads as they become greasy or icy in the changeable weather conditions.
If you have been thinking about joining and would like to see what we are about, please come down to the fire station at 7:30pm on a Wednesday night when we do training or phone me on 3628874. You can also go to our website: www.okarekaruralfire.com.
Chief Fire Officer