Merger helps vol­un­teers

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - DASHA KUPRIENKO

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.

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