How long have you volunteered for the Raglan Fire Brigade?
Two and a half years – 15 years total. I transferred from Stratford, Taranaki.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I was working for a government department, the Ministry of Education as a school caretaker and the principal was in agreement. My kids were old enough. To serve the community. Trade skills to offer. Stratford was desperate for daytime firefighters at the time I could live and work in close proximity to the fire station.
Do you have A family history of Fire service volunteering?
How do you make it work with your career and working life?
An understanding wife. The role enhances my work responsibilities. My employer allows for ENZ representative through employment.
How does it affect your family life?
It takes time away from property management and sometimes social events and family time but it extends community contact.
What do you gain from the experience?
New work skills and good management of stress for confrontational dangerous medical situations. Growth of confidence in decision making outside of the fire service and leadership.
Better health and safety awareness.
What aspect do you find the most difficult?
As a tradie and manager the need to lay down initiatives in order to follow orders and procedures when on the fire ground.
What advice or questions would you give to someone who is considering joining the service?
What is your motive for wanting to join? What previous volunteer work have you done in how was it? Making the most of every training course available for example, fire competency, house burns. Are you prepared for 90% training, 10% action?
What suggestions do you have for improving our fire prevention and/or public education programs?
Volunteers give enough as it is, 20% of volunteers are doing 80% of the work. Utilise community events more for public display.
What is the biggest issue facing fire services today?
Retention of firefighters with less than three years service which comes back to the motive for joining in the first place. With this too, are the longer serving members encouraging the newbies to feel they are part of the family rather than being up against the ‘old boys club’ (from personal experience and I was in my 40s!).
The new generation,– instant gratification, short term commitment, use the pay society, so why volunteer?
Time delay for available training resources.