Volunteer Awareness Week (20 to 26 June) is the time to get involved for anyone who’s ever thought about becoming a firefighter, says United Fire Brigades’ Association CEO George Verry.
According to New Zealand Fire Service statistics, almost 7,500 volunteer firefighters racked up more than 278,000 working hours at incidents in the 2008-09 year – not including the training hours every firefighter is required to put in to keep up the necessary skills.
“Volunteers continue to do a great job handling incidents from fires to road crashes,” says United Fire Brigades’ Association CEO George Verry. “But recruitment remains a challenge for many volunteer fire brigades around the country, particularly in rural areas.”
With Volunteer Awareness Week (20 to 26 June) coming up, Verry encourages anyone who has ever thought about firefighting to contact their local fire brigade to find out more about it.
“There are 397 volunteer fire brigades in New Zealand,” says Verry. “They are all over the country, and their members are men and women from every walk of life you can think of. The youngest firefighter is 16 and the oldest 78, which just shows that anyone can do it.”
“Some brigade members don’t actually attend incidents, but do the support work behind the scenes that helps fire brigades function. So there are opportunities on many levels to get involved.”
Verry says people join fire brigades for all sorts of reasons - giving back to the community, having fun and making friends, and the satisfaction of the work.
For more information on how to become a volunteer firefighter, visit http://volunteer.fire.org.nz/
The United Fire Brigades’ Association is the representative voice for 485 fire brigades throughout the country – both career and volunteer. The UFBA continually works to advance the interests of, and provide a range of services for, its membership.
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