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Thursday May 10, 2018

Firefighters reflect on global day of recognition By Jamie Adams

Rongotai’s MP devoted a morning of his busy schedule to pay a visit to a number of Wellington’s fire stations to celebrate International Firefighters’ Day last week. Paul Eagle visited central Wellington, Brooklyn, Newtown and Kilbirnie fire stations, which he says is the first time he has visited those stations as an MP. Last Friday was about acknowledging the great things firefighters do for our communities, he says. While the day came about to acknowledge the loss of firefighters following a bushfire tragedy in Australia in 1999, it also celebrates

St Florian, a martyred officer of the Roman Army who was sacrificed by being set on fire and drowned after confessing to the soldiers of Aquilinus. St Florian is recognised throughout Europe as the patron saint of firefighters and May 4 is a “feast day” dedicated to him. The spontaneity of the demands of service was apparent when this reporter turned up to Newtown Fire Station for a photo opportunity on Friday morning. Before that could even happen, I had the privilege of accompanying the fire crew on a callout to an Island Bay residence after its tenants rang concerned about a low-hang-

ing phone cable over their driveway. The later enjoyed morning tea with Paul while reflecting on how the role of firefighting has adapted with the consolidation of the NZ Fire Service, the National Rural Fire Authority and rural fire districts into what is now known as Fire and Emergency New Zealand. “When I first started I was going to a lot of house fires. Now I’m going to a lot more car accidents and rural fires,” senior station officer Simon Johnson says. New aspects of a firefighter’s function include natural disaster response (eg fallen trees) and medical first response if no ambulance is available at the time.

Rongotai MP Paul Eagle, second left, at Newtown Fire Station with officers who have just returned from a callout. From left: Senior firefighters Chris Kennerd and Ryan Bothma, senior station officer Simon Johnson and qualified firefighter Ben Bryan. PHOTO: Jamie Adams

However Simon is happy with the expanded role of the fire service. “We’re involved in an exchange programme. We have a firefighter who works in Canada and we have one of

theirs working with us here. “The feedback we get from them is that all firefighters there are in the same expanded role. “So what we do now mirrors what’s happening around the world.”


Cook Strait News 10-05-18  

Cook Strait News 10-05-18

Cook Strait News 10-05-18  

Cook Strait News 10-05-18