Last month we were challenged to think differently about our role in helping communities become more resilient (see May Monthly Update). Here are some examples of how we’ve taken up the gauntlet, and sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference.

In the three months the Local Advisory Committee (LAC) trial ran in the Hawke’s Bay, community resilience is already building. Some examples include residents of a small farming community joining our volunteers to do a first aid training course, and working with the District Health Board and Housing New Zealand to remove rubbish and long grass from around the homes of at risk communities.

“We may think of these as low level tactical activities but they are very significant for communities,” says Area Manager, Ken Cooper. “When we were talking to people in Eskdale about our proposed business plan, they told us they wanted to be able to deal with a medical emergency themselves. Many of them have young families and with being so isolated, they know they have to rely on their community in the first instance. But there were not quite enough of them to warrant a provider to run a first aid course. So we’ve invited them to come along to the next one at Puketitiri Voluntary Rural Fire Force.”

Fire and Emergency NZ made its first appearance at the Mystery Creek Fieldays 13-16 June. Over the three days, some 133,588 people had the chance to meet our people and, through the smoke, see our new promotional tractor - Kahu - alongside a burnt out one. Children and adults used our award-winning virtual reality tool, Escape My House, clambered over our vehicles and learned to check tractors for bird nests. It was a busy few days but successful, with a good number of visitors expressing interest in joining us as a career or volunteer firefighter.

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