The Carterton Fire Brigade is improving its ability to help save lives by investing in better medical tools.

The brigade has purchased two oximeters, devices which measure heart rate and oxygen saturation, which are now onboard both its fire trucks.

Carterton Fire Chief Wayne Robinson said it made sense to keep up-to-date with new equipment, as rescues and medical callouts now represented about 35 per cent of their work.

"Fires are becoming less and rescues and the medical calls and natural disasters are getting worse so we are getting more calls to that kind of thing.


"It just gives us another tool to use. We've obviously got a defibrillator and oxygen already, so they are just another tool we can use until the ambulance turns up.

"It gives a person a better chance because the sooner they can get attention, the better off they are."

Fire crews were first on the scene about 50 per cent of the time, and more so during after hours callouts, he said.

The brigade are all trained first aiders, three of whom are also qualified paramedics.

Mr Robinson said the team was happy to respond to medical callouts.

"It's just part of the job. They are quite comfortable with it. At the end of the day if you can save someone's life, it's all worth it, isn't it?"