Our Martinborough Volunteer Fire Brigade is well on its way to becoming a medical first response brigade.


Over the last six weeks, Wellington Free Ambulance has been training the brigade to respond to a wider range of medical and health-related callouts in Martinborough, the surrounding areas and coastal communities. These include serious medical and traumatic events.

Assistant Area Manager for the Wairarapa, Nick Pyatt, said the initiative had been driven by the Brigade to meet an identified need in their community and the training was the first of its kind between Fire and Emergency and Wellington Free Ambulance.

“This is great news for the Wairarapa community as it will see the number of calls attended by the brigade go from about 120 a year, to around 240, with over half being for medical response.

“It is important for members of the community to know that if they call for an ambulance for a medical emergency, and firefighters turn up, they are trained in medical response and capable of providing medical care, until the arrival of the ambulance.”

Jess De-Menech, Chief Fire Officer at Ngawi Volunteer Fire Brigade near Cape Palliser in South Wairarapa, who joined the training said it was ‘intense but really good’.

“Because Ngawi is so far out it will be such an advantage to be able to administer drugs such as pain relief and adrenaline, especially with the high number of tourists who come to the area. The closest ambulance is in Greytown, which is a 40-minute drive away.”

Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic Tatiana Wells trained brigade members in how to use splints and slings for fractures.

“They were amazing to work with and keen and eager to do this for their community.”

Nick said now the hands-on training has finished, the brigade will undertake a course for 4-6 months to ensure 40 hours of clinical time is completed by each firefighter. They will also join shifts on the ambulance allowing them to practise and refine their patient assessment and care skills.

Watch the TV3 Newshub item on the training(external link).


Maria from WFA shows Brett and Matt how to take a pulse on a person's foot.

Brendan from WFA shows Jake and Jess how to apply a splint for a broken femur.

Tatiana from WFA shows Sophie, Justin, and Sophie how to apply a splint to an arm.

Practising their new skills on Jono from WFA.

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