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