Ash­bur­ton’s new look fire sta­tion of­fi­cially opened

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - METHVEN A&P SHOW - ERIN TASKER

Ash­bur­ton’s newly re­fur­bished fire sta­tion is of­fi­cially open for busi­ness.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Fire and Emer­gency New Zealand (FENZ) Rhys Jones was in Ash­bur­ton on Satur­day morn­ing to cut the rib­bon on the new-look sta­tion.

Com­ing at a cost of $1 mil­lion, the re­fur­bish­ment brought Ash­bur­ton’s lo­cal ur­ban and ru­ral fire ser­vices to­gether un­der one roof for the first time – the first town in New Zealand to do so.

The Ash­bur­ton Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade (Ash­bur­ton’s ur­ban fire­fight­ers) have called the Ash­bur­ton Fire Sta­tion on Bur­nett Street home since it was built in 1976, but Ash­bur­ton’s ru­ral fire force pre­vi­ously called a shed on South Street home.

The na­tional launch of FENZ to bring New Zealand’s ur­ban and ru­ral fire­fight­ing bod­ies to­gether un­der the one um­brella last year, and the Ash­bur­ton ru­ral bri­gade need­ing to get out of their pre­vi­ous home, brought about the op­por­tu­nity for them to move in to­gether but that was eas­ier said than done.

Ash­bur­ton’s ur­ban fire­fight­ers num­bered about 35, and with the ru­ral fire­fight­ers added in, they needed space in the sta­tion for about 55 fire­fight­ers all up. There just wasn’t the space for ev­ery­one to fit and work in to­gether, so a ma­jor ren­o­va­tion was re­quired.

To ac­com­mo­date both fire­fight­ing crews, the sta­tion ex­panded from 37 lock­ers to 55.

An ad­di­tional garage was also built to house the ru­ral crew’s smoke chaser and a sup­port van. In to­tal, three fire ap­pli­ances and two tankers will now op­er­ate from the six-bay sta­tion.

The sta­tion has also had ex­ten­sive re­fur­bish­ment in­clud­ing seis­mic strength­en­ing, larger stor­age ar­eas and new wash ar­eas cre­ated, mod­i­fi­ca­tions to im­prove weather tight­ness, elec­tri­cal up­grades, a sup­port of­fice ren­o­va­tion and up­dat­ing of the sta­tion’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture to the lat­est stan­dard to pro­vide bet­ter cov­er­age.

Creat­ing ex­tra of­fice space has also been a vi­tal part of the ren­o­va­tion due to the num­ber of FENZ staff based out of the site grow­ing to four. Be­fore the merger, only one full time role was based out of the sta­tion.

The Ash­bur­ton Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade is one of the coun­try’s busiest, reg­u­larly at­tend­ing more than 400 call outs per year over the past few years. In 2017 they set a new bri­gade record, at­tend­ing 465 call outs for the year.

The big­gest chunk (98) was to alarm ac­ti­va­tions, with 69 for med­i­cal as­sis­tance and 49 to ru­ral veg­e­ta­tion fires. Res­cue calls also made up a large pro­por­tion, with 32 calls in ur­ban ar­eas and 31 in ru­ral ar­eas.


FENZ chief ex­ec­u­tive Rhys Jones cuts the rib­bon to of­fi­cially open Ash­bur­ton’s new look fire sta­tion.

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