The Kaiwaka volunteer fire brigade started in 1963 and as well as dealing with escaped emu and angry bees fallen of a truck, they have also been there to put out fires that have saved lives and property many times.
They recently joined the Mangawhai and Maungaturoto brigade in a practise fire. “It’s an opportunity to see fire development and to use different technology on how to control the fire,” says training officer for the Northern region, Phil Allely.
The old Kaiwaka railway station keeper’s house, which was set to be demolished anyway, was purposely burnt for the exercise. It was donated to the fire service by New Zealand rail. “We were grateful for the opportunity. They are a good training chance for the firefighters,” said Phil.
As well as Phil being there to make sure everything was safe and under control, instructors and trainers from Auckland and Rotorua also came up. Testing included “water application and use, body position in the rooms, and what to look for at the different stages of the fire developing,” says Kaiwaka firefighter Tim Brown. “The practice went well as in the rural areas it is very uncommon to be in the building while it is burning.
“With Kaiwaka most house fires are either about to start or are well developed by the time we arrive. We have a few younger guys in the brigade that have not yet been to a house fire, so it is great that they can see what and what not to do.”