The search for new firefighting recruits in Tauranga is over, for now.
Tauranga volunteer firefighters had been looking for several people keen to join the crew and help protect and serve the local community. There are three volunteer brigades in the Tauranga area but numbers had begun to run thin. People moving away and with other commitments meant recruits were sought for the first time since 2015 and a recruitment drive earlier this month.
"It was a real success," Tauranga station officer Jeff Francis said.
"We probably had at least 20-odd people rock up. And out of that we got three for Greerton [brigade] and two for the Mount and we go four who came along to training last week for us."
Francis was pleased. But nothing is official, yet.
Would-be firefighters will train with the crew and hear from firefighting bosses for the next three to four weeks to "get a feel" for the role before filling out formal paperwork and joining the brigade.
Francis said being a volunteer firefighter was a "huge commitment" and one or two people were expected to drop off once reality hit.
"If they still want to go ahead then they will get the paperwork and manuals ... after that, they go on a course over in Rotorua and learn everything they need to know on the course. They pop out the other end and can ride a big red truck."
Francis said having firefighter Karen St George on hand in a story about the recruitment day helped inspire some women to join.
"We had two ladies come down specifically to sign up because they saw the video of Karen. One of the ladies who watched that said she thought 'if she can do that, I can do that too'.
"It was a very successful day. Probably one of the best ones we've had that I can think of."
In a previous article, St George said she loved being part of the brigade and it was her way of giving back to the community.
The volunteers operate in support of the paid New Zealand Fire and Emergency Service at Tauranga's station on Cameron Rd. They train every Tuesday night.
Volunteer firefighters must:
- Live within 4km of the Tauranga Fire Station
- Pass police and security vetting
- Be of reasonable fitness
- Be available at the drop of a hat when on duty