Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board and Executive Leadership Team members have been on the West Coast checking out for themselves the great work our firefighters are doing to support their communities and keep them safe.

Board Chair Paul Swain, Deputy Chair Rebecca Keoghan, Board members Te Aroha Cook, and Malcolm Inglis, Chief Executive Rhys Jones and their colleagues have spent time with brigades at Seddonville, Granity, Waimangaroa, Westport, Charleston, Greymouth and Hokitika.

Board Member Wendie Harvey joined the group for the board meeting and a gathering for key local partners in Hokitika.

“This has been a great opportunity to see and hear first-hand what’s working well, and where we could do better, to ensure we’re in a strong position to serve and protect West Coast communities,”  Board Chair Paul Swain says.

The West Coast is a spectacular part of New Zealand. It has a rich history, with people who have successfully built thriving local communities and industry in one of the most challenging parts of the country.

Because of the remoteness and scattered population, Coasters rely on fire and emergency service and support from around 400 volunteers - with support from the Area Office.

They work out of 21 urban and six rural fire stations over an area stretching 630kms from north to south.

They’ve been at the heart of the community, protecting and preserving life and property for more than 150 years.

An all-of-West Coast volunteer recruitment drive held last year has seen a significant increase in volunteer numbers and several brigades run cadet programmes, as well as high school youth programmes. The group got to meet young cadets at Waimangaroa Station on Wednesday.

“Our firefighters on the Coast do a fantastic job responding to emergencies in an often challenging environment,” Paul Swain says.

By next year, the West Coast will have one of the first tranche of 16 local advisory committees the Board is setting up across the country.

Local Advisory Committees are required by legislation as a way of helping ensure that community voices, interests, risks and needs are well represented, understood and taken into account in Fire and Emergency’s local and national planning.

“We are committed to working with local communities to help them plan for, survive and recover from major fires and emergencies.  The local advisory committees will play an important role and we look forward to following the establishment of the committee on the West Coast and across New Zealand,” Paul Swain says.

Here are some pictures from the group at Charleston, Seddonville and Waimangaroa.

west coast visit 1

West coast visit 3

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