Merger helps volunteers
Providing stronger support for fire brigade volunteers is one of the benefits of the fire service amalgamation.
New Zealand’s urban and rural fire services joined to form Fire and Emergency New Zealand from July 1.
Otago’s principal rural fire officer Graeme Still said providing support to over 300 rural volunteers in the region was a ‘‘big bonus’’.
The region relied heavily on volunteers and the amalgamation would support them.
Volunteers would be offered support in their training, well-being, administration and health and safety, Still said.
‘‘Just looking after them and making sure they are in a good space and we work really hard for them.’’
Fire Service Central and North Otago area manager Keith McIntosh said the collaboration was ‘‘very exciting’’.
‘‘We are looking forward for our future together,’’ he said at a Queenstown celebration on Thursday.
Still said the feedback he was getting on the amalgamation had been ‘‘very positive’’.
With services combined, there would be no double ups for rural and urban brigades.
The full integration will occur over the next three years.
Fire Service area manager Keith McIntosh and Otago’s principal rural fire officer Graeme Still.