Vaimoana Tapaleao is the New Zealand Herald's Pacific Affairs and People reporter.

Emergency sirens stolen from rural fire brigade

A Huia resident says the fire brigade has no universal signal and it has to rely on pagers. Photo / Wayne Drought
A Huia resident says the fire brigade has no universal signal and it has to rely on pagers. Photo / Wayne Drought

A rural fire brigade no longer has sirens to alert its volunteers and community of an emergency, after they were stolen from the station's roof.

Members believe a new craze - where youngsters are installing large music speakers on their bikes - is the reason behind them going missing.

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Staff at the Huia Volunteer Fire Brigade, in West Auckland, discovered the siren speakers missing this week.

Yesterday we noticed that our 2 Fire Station siren speakers were missing.

Mounted on a structure on the roof, also...

Posted by Huia Volunteer Fire Brigade on Wednesday, February 17, 2016

In a post on its Facebook page, the brigade said it was upset that the 30-year-old speakers had seemingly been stolen for a bit of fun.

"It appears our little fire station in our little piece of paradise may have been a victim of this new craze of speakers being attached to bikes for audio battles.

"A number of schools and other fire stations have suffered this fate. So unfortunately and quite possibly, the fun of teenagers has potentially compromised the ability of the brigade to respond to emergencies in our community."

The music battles have become increasingly popular over the past few months after teenagers in parts of Auckland began installing speakers on their bicycles.

They play music and get together with other groups - who also have bike-mounted speakers - and compete against each other to see who has the loudest sounds.

A Huia resident said the whole community had been talking about the missing speakers.

"At the moment, our fire brigade has got no universal signal, so they have to rely on their pagers. We don't have the back-up of the siren now."

The Huia brigade serves communities in Cornwallis, Huia and Whatipu.

The resident, who did not wish to be named, said the station also doubled as a medical first-response unit - meaning that service also was affected by the theft.

"That siren, it's reassuring [to the community]. It's saying, 'Yes, there are people out there in our community that care'," she said.

"For those little monsters to take the speakers is just irritating."

In its social media post, the brigade acknowledged that many rural, bush, coastal and isolated stations around the country relied heavily on the sirens to alert members of an emergency.

"It is sad that there are people who have little thought for the consequences of their actions and how it can potentially affect the great people that also live amongst us and make our communities special."

- NZ Herald

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