New fire chief for Methven

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - ERIN TASKER

New chief fire of­fi­cer Brent An­der­son strug­gles to re­mem­ber a time when the Methven Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade wasn’t a part of his life.

As a young­ster, he could of­ten be found down at the Methven Fire Sta­tion mow­ing the lawns or help­ing out with odd jobs, while his dad was there on a Sun­day catch­ing up on some du­ties.

An­der­son’s dad, David, spent 34 years in the Methven Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade, with 21 of those years as chief. His stint as chief was fol­lowed by 21 years of Sel­wyn Allred wear­ing the chief’s hat, and when he of­fi­cially re­tired af­ter mark­ing 50 years as a vol­un­teer fire­fighter in the town last week, An­der­son ju­nior took over.

A builder by trade, An­der­son has been a fire­fighter for 28 years.

‘‘I sort of tried to join when I was 18 or 19, but I didn’t get in til I was about 28, be­cause the bri­gade at that time was fairly set­tled. There was no real move­ment and there were a few less then,’’ An­der­son said.

For him, be­com­ing a fire­fighter was about be­ing able to help peo­ple in their time of need, quickly.

‘‘It was pretty much scrub and veg­e­ta­tion fires in those days and the odd house or build­ing fire. But now it’s moved... We still have the fires, but it’s less crop fires be­cause there’s less crops around and the ma­chin­ery is bet­ter now and doesn’t cause so many fires. Then we get our med­i­cals and our MVAs (mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents),’’ An­der­son said.

In re­cent years, An­der­son has held the role of se­nior sta­tion of­fi­cer.

‘‘I have pro­gressed up the ranks so this (chief) was the next nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion, but it was a tricky de­ci­sion be­cause it’s quite an in­volved job. Thirty years ago it was quite straight for­ward, but now it’s a bit more in­volved with poli­cies and stuff, and train­ing,’’ An­der­son said.

But he de­cided to take on the chal­lenge, and has Davey McLeod in the deputy chief role.

‘‘We sort of had a dis­cus­sion and thought we should be able to do it be­tween us,’’ An­der­son said.

And they know they’ve got 22 other fire­fight­ers around them who will help en­sure their ship runs smoothly. There’s al­ways room for more too. An­der­son said the bri­gade needed more fire­fight­ers to help them for day time call-outs.

ERIN TASKER/STUFF

Brent An­der­son is the Methven Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade’s new chief fire of­fi­cer.

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