Fire brigades need more volunteers

VICKI WATERHOUSE
Last updated 12:00 09/05/2012

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Volunteers are slowly starting to approach the Bulls and Marton fire brigades after a staffing shortage caused fears that calls for help could go unanswered.

Only half the volunteer firefighter positions in Bulls are filled. There were concerns the station wouldn't be able to attend some jobs.

The brigade ideally needs 28 volunteers, but there are only 14.

Marton Fire Brigade has also been struggling, with only 19 of 36 possible positions filled.

But things could be looking better for both stations after a man applied in Marton and a young mother showed interest in Bulls.

Two women had also expressed interest in joining the Marton station.

Marton chief fire officer Paul Hudson said there was a lot of work to be done before the brigade was back to full strength.

"We just have to get people motivated I think," he said.

"I'm starting to get worried because we're down to half strength; it's putting a lot of pressure on the guys who are available during the day."

Mr Hudson said the brigade was still getting trucks out the door, but people needed to have time off. The brigade planned to run an advertising campaign in the next few weeks, and put up posters around town.

Bulls chief fire officer Brian Carter said volunteer shortages were a common problem in small towns, and it was getting worse.

Mr Carter said the recent publicity surrounding the brigades' plight had seen a few people come forward to volunteer.

"It's starting to work," he said.

"It's been talked about quite a bit with people around town."

Mr Carter said the team were considering putting up a large banner in front of the station saying firefighters were wanted. They were also set to use a local rugby club hunting day as a forum to attract more volunteers.

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- Manawatu Standard

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