Myself and two members from the Lake Okareka Fire Force attended the Forest and Rural Fire Association of New Zealand conference held in Dunedin last month. The key theme of the conference was recruitment, training and retention of volunteer firefighters. This was very valuable, particularly for fire authorities and councils, as it gave an insight into the many obstacles people face in volunteering their time to community organisations, as well as different approaches and incentives for attracting members and maintaining interest through regular, structured training schemes.
Thank you to Mike and Sandra Goodwin for the chainsaw that they kindly donated to the Lake Okareka Fire Force. This larger chainsaw has proved to be more suitable for dealing with the numerous trees that we were turned out to clear during winter.
In conjunction with Rotorua District Council, we are in the process of purchasing two new medium-sized pumps for the water tanker to replace the ex Fire Service pumps which are well and truly past their use by date, a bit like our fire appliance! Speaking of which, I am not aware of any progress being made by the various authorities with regards to replacing the appliance. (So much for the old saying “good things come to those who wait” ‑ maybe it’s time to implement the one about “the squeaky wheel getting the oil”!)
Keep an eye out for the restricted fire season notice in the local paper – this comes into effect from 1 October. Please adhere to the rules and regulations, and don’t hesitate in reporting any signs of smoke (via 111) if we enter into a prohibited fire season period. In the meantime, if you are planning on burning any garden waste, don’t forget your permit, and thank you again to those residents who take the time to inform me of their permitted fires.
Now that Daylight Savings is nearly upon us, it is a good time to check your smoke detectors and replace the batteries.
For anyone who is interested in joining the fire force or wanting to contact us, please don’t hesitate to phone me on 362 8874.
Chief Fire Officer