This week I’m in Tokyo presenting at an international emergency services conference about Fire and Emergency and the unique opportunity we have been given to look forward and to recreate our organisation to be more effective and better meet the changing demands of our local communities.

Over the last month, as I prepared for my talk, I have been continuing my visits to our stations and headquarters. I’ve seen some great examples of Fire and Emergency at its best and the real potential and benefits a fully unified organisation can bring. This is all against the backdrop of recognising the special role we have in communities and thinking about how we use that presence to make more of a difference in the future.

When I was at the National Training Centre attending the recent Recruits Graduation ceremony, I saw the enthusiasm of our new firefighters and the great skills they developed over their three months of training. Fire and Emergency has a broad range of responsibilities and being one organisation allows us to work towards identifying the gaps in skills and training and begin making more targeted investments to address these. We want to ensure that all our people get high-quality training, and knowledge and skills to tackle the wide range of emergencies we respond to. This is crucial to keeping our people and our communities safe.

For International Firefighters’ Day I enjoyed spending time with a Wellington crew to celebrate their hard work and it was great to get the opportunity to connect and share my thanks to our firefighters for their dedication. We had over 50 Members of Parliament on stations across the country seeing and hearing first-hand about the work we do. This exposure and the warmth of coverage in media and social media was a good reminder of how integral we are to the fabric of communities. We need to keep thinking about how we use this as we work with communities to keep themselves safe.

Earlier this month, I also attended the graduation ceremony for those who have taken part in our Officer Career Board professional development programme. Ensuring that we are investing in our people and providing training and the right opportunities is crucial to having the right people to be our next generation of

inspiring leaders and help drive our organisation forward. Leaders and leadership are always at the heart of successful change in organisations and building our leadership capability remains a focus for us.

We are creating an organisation that is built for the future.

It’s a big change and it’s about being future-focused, recognising long-term trends and shaping our organisation to meet changing demands of our environment and our communities over the coming decades.

It’s an ambitious plan and there are no doubt challenges ahead but the examples I’ve seen this past month show that we are making positive progress towards creating an organisation that is fit for purpose and sustainable.

Medal, Jubilees and Awards

Kori Howse Woodend 25 Year Gold Star
Ian White Lincoln 25 Year Gold Star
Lyndon Johns Matamata 25 Year Gold Star
Martin Prescott Matamata 25 Year Gold Star
Richard Penney Kaikohe 25 Year Gold Star
Luers Crump Kaikohe 50 Year Medal
Brian Davey Duntroon 50 Year Medal
Allan Dudfield Orepuki 50 Year Medal
Otaki Volunteer Fire Brigade  75 Jubilee

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