Rural fire force seeking more members


It’s the time of year where things begin to get busy for firefighters, and Waitaki Rural Fire Force deputy controller Matt Henderson says this year will be no different.

The numbers of the rural fire force are sitting steady at 18 members, but they would like to see an increase.

“Ideally, we’d love to have close to 25 members if we could,” Mr Henderson said.

The rural fire force is based at Whitestone Contracting Yard in Alma, where it has been for the last six years. Before that, the force was based in Chelmer St at the recycling yard.

Mr Henderson said how busy they were likely to become depended on the dryness of the summer.

“It depends what the weather is like over winter and how busy we are,” he said.

The members of the group are all volunteers.

The rural fire force was started in 1993. Volunteers are trained for civil defence emergencies, and some are trained in flood response.

People who join up will be trained.

Joining did not involve too much time, Mr Henderson said.

“Commitment to training for a couple hours every second Wednesday, and on occasion additional training at weekends, and of course attendance to any calls that we may get if they are available.

“In return, they will be trained to a high standard in all aspects of vegetation firefighting, become part of a tight-knit team and be recognised for the service that they are given via bi-annual honours evenings,” he said.

The force has now become part of the Otago Enlarged Rural Fire Authority, which will be the largest in New Zealand covering three million hectares and employing seven staff and a workforce of 250 volunteer firefighters.

Anyone wanting to join can email



PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Firefighter Chris Johnson using a Wajax pump to complete some unit standard training last year on using pumps.

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