After years operating from a shed with no running water, Athol’s volunteer brigade are thrilled with their new station, which was opened by Minister Jan Tinetti on Saturday.

Brigade chief Rob Durling said the toilet at the old building was often clogged by cluster flies and mice liked to snack on the IT cabling.

Now the brigade has a new home for its appliances and modern facilities for the team including operations room and locker room, storage, an area for cleaning personal protective equipment, a meeting room and kitchen, showers and toilets (without the cluster flies!).

Rob says the boost that the new station has provided the brigade goes well beyond amenities. With a comfortable place to debrief after call-outs, esprit de corps has increased and more members of the community are also putting their hands up to join the team.

At the opening, Fire and Emergency Board Chair Rebecca Keoghan thanked the brigade for all their service to the community, commenting that she herself had been helped by the Athol volunteers when she was involved in a car accident several years ago. The Board was committed to providing fit-for-purpose facilities to the 695 volunteer brigades around the country.

Chair Rebecca Keoghan chats to Winston Soper (right), one of the founding fire members of the Athol brigade and firefighter Matthew Wallis.

The Athol brigade with Board Chair Rebecca Keoghan, Minister Jan Tinetti and members of the Te Kei and Southland area leadership teams

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