Good to see that spring is here and the days are starting to get longer again.
The Lake Okareka Fire Force has had a fairly busy winter with numerous calls to fallen trees, most of which were quite substantial, completely blocking roads. Thank you to all motorists who showed patience and were well mannered while waiting for the crews to clear the road.
We have also attended a couple of scrub fires and a chimney fire. Unfortunately, we still have some locals who prefer to call me directly at home. This is not a good idea. As a local resident discovered on one occasion, I was out fishing for the night and the wife had to deal with him (poor sod!). Please phone 111 direct – it saves time and, hence, can save properties (and potentially lives). We need to be responded through the correct channels for our own insurance and legal protocols and, in many cases, your own insurance policies will require the fire brigade to attend regardless of the outcomes. Phoning 111 is not as daunting as it seems. Better to be safe, than sorry.
Membership in the fire force is quite high at present with the recruitment of five new members, all of whom are undertaking basic training in conjunction with crews from Tarawera, Rotoiti and Castlecorp.
Myself and five representatives from Rotorua District Council, Okareka and Rotoiti attended the FRFANZ annual conference in Whangarei recently, gaining valuable information about fire control and fire supervision, and strengthening our relationships with fellow organisations.
Mid October is the “seasonal firefighters” boot camp to be held in Rotorua. This camp is for crew leaders who hold the required qualifications and who have crews interested in attending deployment fires, both nationally and internationally. Okareka, Rotoiti and Castlecorp have good numbers of firefighters who are keen on attending these large scale fires which provide opportunity to put into practice the training and personal commitment we undertake. To attend these deployments is very beneficial, both for the firefighters and fire forces involved.
Finally, special thanks to Christine Tyler from TACTS Limited (Tyler Accounting and Taxation) for donating her time to review the Lake Okareka Fire Force’s annual accounts.
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