This morning, Internal Affairs Minister, Hon. Jan Tinetti officially opened Fire and Emergency’s new service centre in Tauranga.

In her speech, Minister Tinetti acknowledged the centre’s important role in making sure firefighters across Ngā Tai ki te Puku have safe and fit-for-purpose equipment and resources, when they need them, so they can keep people and properties safe.

Minister Tinetti addresses attendees (above) and unveils the official opening plaque (right).

This centre is the first in a new model for Fire and Emergency, with more of a Region-wide focus.

Thirteen Region-based members of the Organisational Strategy & Capability Development Branch – from Equipment and Logistics, Fleet, Information and Communications Technology, and Property – are based at the centre. Together, they manage, maintain, store, and distribute a huge range of firefighting and emergency response tools, equipment, information technology and other resources for the Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Tairāwhiti Districts and beyond.

The storage and distribution of the COVID PPE gear used by firefighters across the North Island, and thermal imaging equipment used for search and rescue operations, are also managed from this centre.

The new centre replaces two separate facilities in Otumoetai and Ngongotaha says Bruce Nilson, Region Equipment and Logistics Manager.

“Neither was fit for purpose, and they were around 60km apart geographically,” he says. “Being on one site, and close to two highways, will make a huge difference.”

The new facility is purpose-designed, with a 1304m2 multi-purpose office, warehouse and workshop building on a 9702m2 site. It includes a canopy to make working outside in any weather much easier.

Charlie Lott, National Manager Equipment and Logistics, explains that the site has been designed with sustainability and health and safety front of mind.

“We’ve included features like tanks to store rainwater harvested from the roof that is then used for test water, and electric vehicle charging stations. We’re bulk buying firefighting foam in large containers that gets decanted into reusable smaller pails,” he says.

“Health and safety features include a decontamination wash to stop any harmful chemicals being transferred to other parts of the facility, exhaust extraction and noise reduction within the workshop, and hose testing and washing technology that automates many of the processes rather than being hands-on.”

The new Hosemaster machine is a single-person, fully automated machine that washes, pressure tests and semi-dries hose to 90% dry and coils it for use. It is far more environmentally friendly, safer and efficient compared with our largely manual system.

The Service Centre opening was also attended by Ngāti Ranginui iwi representatives Des Tata and Sonny Ranapia, Fire and Emergency Board Member Mary-Anne Macleod, Deputy National Commander Brendan Nally and Deputy Chief Executive Organisational Strategy and Capability Development Russell Wood, along with members of our Service Delivery and OSCD teams.

The official opening followed a blessing of the new centre on 20 May by Ngāti Ranginui iwi representatives. 

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