Whanganui firefighter Carl Moon and his family are happy to be home after living in Canada for a year but they almost missed the last flight out of San Francisco.
The family had been living in Edmonton where Moon had switched jobs and homes with Canadian firefighter Dennis Seitz and his family.
"Our time in Canada was up and we planned to have a short holiday before we came home," Moon said.
"We got a call... to say we needed to leave immediately as borders were closing and we had to catch that last, long-haul flight out of San Francisco to New Zealand."
Since arriving home on March 22, Moon, his wife Anne and their sons Aidan and Samuel have been in complete isolation.
"It is hard to not see my Whanganui workmates after being away for a year but they have been brilliant.
"Every time one of them is going to the supermarket they call and ask what we need and drop it off for us."
Moon has heard that a passenger aboard their flight home has tested positive for Covid - 19.
"I wanted us to get tested but we've been told to stay in complete isolation for 14 days and we'll then be tested if we're showing symptoms."
While Canadian firefighter Seitz enjoyed the experience of working in Whanganui where there is just one fire station, Moon said his experience of working in a big city with multiple stations was exciting.
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"Buildings in Edmonton can burn very fast," he said.
"They are made of light timber with heavy framing and they almost all have basements so you do need more people and equipment to get fires under control very quickly because a floor can burn through in just six minutes."
There was also static ice training on frozen lakes at the start of the 2019 Canadian spring.
"I did fall in a couple of times but I had my dry suit on so I was okay."
Moon said his roster allowed periods where he had six days off in a row so the family made the most of the time to go exploring, ice skating and skiing.
"We all had our bucket list activities planned," Moon said.
"I wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise and we all really enjoyed that experience."
"Anne broke her arm while ice skating as well so she had some bad luck but she did enjoy being in Canada. I think we'd all like to go back for a holiday some day."