Principal Rural Fire Officer for Fire and Emergency New Zealand, Paul Wright, said today’s handover was an opportunity to recognise the greatly valued past contribution of Council and its staff in rural fire management.
“Today’s occasion provides the opportunity to formally acknowledge and thank the Council and their dedicated staff for all their major contribution to rural fire management within the District.”
Mr Wright has worked with Rotorua Lakes Council in various roles since 1994 and says the local council’s proactive approach to rural fire management has been a benchmark for others to aim for. “I have valued the professional and supportive relationship,” he said.
Last year, in a bid to provide more effective fire and emergency services across the country, urban and rural fire services merged to create Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
In the central North Island this merger involved multiple agencies which dealt in urban and rural fire responses, including Pumicelands Rural Fire Authority and Rotorua Lakes Council.
As at the end of March 2018, one of the last steps for the transition saw Fire and Emergency New Zealand officially assumed the management of all rural processes in the Rotorua region. “An immediate benefit of the transfer that residents may see is the substantial investment to personnel training, fleet upgrades and property improvements,” Mr Wright said.
“These investments will help create the more effective and efficient teams that support the rural community.”
Rural fire permits will be issued by Fire and Emergency New Zealand as of the start of the next fire season, 1 October 2018.
Investment has been made into a new national online system called ‘Check it’s alright’ that will make applying for permits easier for everyone.
It will also provide a more consistent way for FENZ to monitor safety when lots of landowners are burning during fine weather.
From 1 October 2018 to apply for a Fire Permit visit www.checkitsalright.nz or if people do not have a computer or smartphone they can apply through the Pumicelands District number (07) 349 2795 or come to the Fire and Emergency Rotorua Fire Station at 19 Biak St.
Photo: Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick with Fire and Emergency New Zealand personnel, members of local volunteer rural fire services from Lake Okareka, Tarawera and West Rotoiti (Okere Falls) and rural fire staff from Rotorua Lakes Council.