Local fire brigade seeks volunteers

J ThompsonSenior Station Officer John Thompson is on the look-out for new volunteers to join the Whitikahu Volunteer Fire Brigade.

Whitikahu is opening its doors this Sunday (14 March) from 11am-2pm. “This is the perfect time to find out more about volunteering, have your questions about what it takes to be part of your local brigade and who can join,” he says.

John has been the Senior Station Officer at Whitikahu for more than 10 years.

“I joined the brigade in 1992 because I was relatively new in the area and one of the brigade members said they were looking for new members and I thought it was something I could do to be part of the community.

“Volunteering has given me many great experiences, but the best part is not a specific event but that we’re a great team and everyone pulls together.

“Over the last three or four years, many of the volunteers I recruited seven or eight years ago are now station officers. It’s the running of the brigade that has become so much easier having these people. I’ve always run it like a team and so everyone has an area of responsibility.”

Volunteering is not just about being physically fit, he says. There are different roles and something for most people.

“As well as firefighters, we need operational support volunteers to support firefighters on the incident ground and brigade support volunteers do an essential job in keeping on top of the admin.”

Anyone interested in volunteering needs to be available for weekly training, and there are formal courses which require time away from home as well.

“It’s a great way to become part of the community and to get to know people in the community. It’s not all hard work, there are social events and you get to know a lot of other great people because you’re working with them as well as socialising with them. if anyone joins the brigade, they will be part of a great team of people and will be treated as equals.”

  • To find out more about volunteering, come to the Open Day at Whitikahu Fire Station on Sunday 14 March, 11am-2pm.
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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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