View interactive

Modern upgrade for Katikati fire brigade

Add a comment
Katikati Volunteer Fire Brigade members look forward to serving the community at the new fire station
Katikati Volunteer Fire Brigade members look forward to serving the community at the new fire station

Moving to a new fire station has allowed Katikati Volunteer Fire Brigade to make up ground on its colleagues around the country.

The new station is fully linked up with the national fire service computer system Firenet.

"There have been a lot of changes in the fire service in the last year or two with all the computerisation, so it's good to be able to catch up a bit," said Deputy Chief Fire Officer Gavin Amrein.

Gavin also had help from Alistair Carter and the two of them worked together with the fire service to come to what has been built now. Initially the building project was headed by life member and former deputy fire chief Peter Carney, who retired from the brigade last August.

The new Katikati fire station is a civil defence hub and assembly point for the wider Katikati area
The new Katikati fire station is a civil defence hub and assembly point for the wider Katikati area

The new building includes a room devoted to computers with separate work stations available. Members can update themselves on the latest requirements and information as well as complete incident reports.

"We now have more reporting to do via computers.

"It can take a bit longer, but now we have somewhere to do it and when it's filed it's in Wellington pretty much straight away," said Gavin.

But that is just one of the areas the new station scores over its predecessor.

Put simply, the Katikati Volunteer Fire Brigade had outgrown its old town centre station.
When the Main Rd station was built in 1955 there were 10 members and one fire truck.

"We have a lot more members - there are currently around 25 - so it was a full house and there were no offices or things like that at the old station," said Gavin.

"And there was no real space to expand."

Also lacking were the training facilities needed.

Firefighters lockers at the new Katikati station
Firefighters lockers at the new Katikati station

"(At the new station) there is a yard out the back that is suitable for training and where we can simulate a motor vehicle accident. Before we had to find somewhere to do that off site," Gavin said.

The new station also has indoor space for training requirements, a locker room and a good sized social area. Importantly there is also ample space for volunteers attending a call-out to park their cars - something else that had become an issue at the old station.

To the rear there is a garage for the brigade's water tanker and troop carrier. There is also the potential for expansion on the site.

Gavin said he hopes the new building might help attract new volunteers.

"We could always do with more volunteers, especially now as we have some who are due to leave in the next few years - we need new people coming up and it takes a few years to get them up to speed."

Employers of Katikati volunteer firefighters are acknowledged on a board outside the new station
Employers of Katikati volunteer firefighters are acknowledged on a board outside the new station

Civil defence

The new fire station is a civil defence hub and assembly point for the wider Katikati area.
The building is also fully earthquake strengthened.

Within the building there is the capacity to expand the number of telephone lines.

"The extra phone lines can be put in in a matter of hours in case of emergency," says Gavin.

"It has been set up to also have that civil defence function."

Opening events

This coming weekend will be a milestone one for Katikati Volunteer Fire Brigade.

The official opening of the new fire station on the corner of Sheffield St and Middlebrook Drive will be held on Saturday with invited guests numbering somewhere between 100 and 150.

Among them will be the big-wigs of the New Zealand Fire Service, local politicians and other dignitaries.

Sunday will see the opportunity for the local community to have a look around the new station.

The doors will be opened at 10am and a general invitation has been issued for anyone interested in having a look around.

There will also be displays of equipment and demonstrations by brigade members.
The open day will run until 2pm.

Former deputy fire chief and life member Peter Carney from Switch Electrical headed the brigade's building committee which worked hard to bring the new station to fruition.
Former deputy fire chief and life member Peter Carney from Switch Electrical headed the brigade's building committee which worked hard to bring the new station to fruition.

Background

It's been a long process, but Katikati Volunteer Fire Brigade has finally got to the end of its quest for a new fire station.

While the New Zealand Fire Service has paid for the building, members have been fundraising to fit out the new building for 14 years and have been working on the plans for four.

Work on the new building began early in 2012.

The Katikati Fire Station on Main Rd was built in 1955 and has had a number of additions over the years. It was leased to the brigade by Western Bay of Plenty District Council.

Due to the station not meeting requirements, in 2009, the New Zealand Fire Service was faced with two choices, either refurbish or rebuild.

Sheffield St and Middlebrook Drive have been extended to meet up and this has given access to the site from two directions, critically one being just a short distance to State Highway 2.

As many items as possible have been moved from the old building to provide some history.

Included in this are some old clothing, fire equipment from the late 1950s and a lot of old photos.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a4 at 23 Sep 2014 08:49:29 Processing Time: 891ms