Sound of siren wel­comed by fire ser­vice vol­un­teers

Whangarei Report - - Front Page - By Kristin Edge

For fire­fighter Daniel Gar­ton the fire siren re­ver­ber­at­ing around the Hiku­rangi com­mu­nity will be a wel­come noise.

For the last 12 months the team of vol­un­teers have been alerted to emer­gency call outs ei­ther by phone or pager while the new Hiku­rangi Fire Sta­tion was un­der con­struc­tion.

Now the vol­un­teer team are back in the coun­try’s new­est state-of-the-art fire sta­tion and ready to roll.

“I get a gut feel­ing when it’s go­ing to go off. It will be great to hear that noise again,” Mr Gar­ton said of the siren.

The $1 mil­lion sta­tion was of­fi­cially de­clared open at 11.34am on Satur­day by New Zealand Fire Ser­vice chief ex­ec­u­tive and na­tional com­man­der, Paul Bax­ter.

Mr Bax­ter said the brigade was pro­vid­ing a world-class ser­vice and re­sponded to an ever in­creas­ing range of emer­gen­cies.

In the early years it was pri­mar­ily fires the brigade turned out for but in­creas­ingly they were be­ing called to car crashes, chem­i­cal spills, and wild weather events.

He said the vol­un­teers were the heart of the fire ser­vice.

“With­out the peo­ple we wouldn’t have the or­gan­i­sa­tion we have. This new sta­tion is an as­set to the brigade and the com­mu­nity.”

The last Hiku­rangi sta­tion was built on the same site in 1954 and the lat­est build­ing was the third on the same site.

The brigade was 101 years old ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial records but Chief Fire Of­fi­cer Snow Buck­ton said it could be even older.

Mr Buck­ton said if all the years vol­un­teers had given to the brigade were added to­gether, it to­talled 1789 years. He said dur­ing that time there wasn’t much the brigade had not at­tended. It in­cluded res­cu­ing a par­rot from a tree, a cat from be­hind a cup­board and scrub fires.

“There have been sad times and good times.”

For­mer mem­ber Paula Craw­shaw trav­elled from Te­muka in the South Is­land to at­tend the open­ing. When she was a vol­un­teer she was al­most al­ways the first at the sta­tion, con­ve­niently liv­ing right next door.

“Just know­ing you are do­ing some­thing for the com­mu­nity and be­ing able to help peo­ple you know in the com­mu­nity is a huge re­ward,” she said.

Each mem­ber of the cur­rent brigade was pre­sented with a spe­cial key ring.

‘Just know­ing you are do­ing some­thing for the com­mu­nity is a

huge re­ward.’



MILE­STONE: Chief fire of­fi­cer Snow Buck­ton is all smiles as New Zealand Fire Ser­vice ex­ec­u­tive and na­tional com­man­der, Paul Bax­ter, un­veils the of­fi­cial plaque mark­ing the open­ing of the new Hiku­rangi fire sta­tion.

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