Brigade In the Red

ozfireThe Puhoi Rural Fire Force is rightly proud of itself for the service its second-in-charge, Mike Donovan, has recently given to Australians fighting the Melbourne bush fires, and, says fire chief Russell Green, two other members of our local force are on standby for the next Melbourncontingent, and also in training for the possibility of an American call as well. “It is exciting to see our guys spreading their wings and getting some overseas experience,” he comments. Following an exceptionally busy January and February 2014 it has been quiet l recently for the local brigade. The restriction on lighting rural open fires still held, but was on track to end by April 1providing no exceptional circumstances inter- vened. All weather indices showed the district was drier than average, Russell reported before cyclone Lusi hit New Zealand.

“As to fire station building progress, there is still some to-ing and fro-ing between Auckland Coun- cil, builders and Resource Consent staff,” he reports. “Meanwhile, the fire force is making appli- cations to 16 funding agencies to help with the circa $200,000 needed for earthworks and approximately $450,000 for the building. At present the fire force has raised around $320,000.” The PRFF is still looking for new recruits.

Fire Break

We have now changed Fire Seasons as of 0800hrs
today, 2 Dec.

Restricted Fire Season for the Auckland Rural
Fire District (excluding the islands of the
Hauraki Gulf)

Prohibited Fire Season for the Islands of the
Hauraki Gulf.
Please refer to the Auckland Council Website, Rural Fire

Customers will be asked
to complete the free online application form and a
Council Officer will be in contact with them within two
working days.
Thomas Harre – Land Management Risk Assessment Policy Advisor

Auckland Rural Fire District | Civil Defence and Emer-
gency Management

Ph 09 369 7257 | Mobile +64 21 413 197
Auckland Council, Lv 1 Bledisloe House, 24 Wellesley St,
Auckland CBD
Visit our website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Puhoi Rural Fire Brigade: Forum Report 26/11/2013

Puhoi Rural Fire Brigade

Report for Forum meeting 26/11/2013

Our turnouts are increasing inline with the fine weather.

76 calls for the year so far.

Of note is the increase in complaints from neighbours in regards to smoke nuisance from rubbish fires. It would be good if all parties showed more consideration and tolerance around this issue as we do live in the country. Large rubbish fires should be notified to stop false callouts- please ring me to advise if you are having a burn off- 021 655461.

The Restricted Fire Season will come into play as per normal on the 1 December. Only permitted fires will be allowed after that date. If the weather continues to be dry and hot then it wont be long and the area will be in a total fire ban. I will make sure this is notified via the various channels in Puhoi if that is the case.

Our new ute is still ‘ a couple of weeks away’- same as it was 6 weeks ago!

Watch this space!

Our station plans are progressing slowly and once we have an agreed concept design I will be able to share this with the community. We are finding that there is very little input into the design as planning restrictions, resource consent requirements and other such things as the Puhoi Structure Plan are coming into play to denote the construct and design so to speak- now this is a good thing but it does take away the communitys ability to have input into this side of it. I was hoping to have this by this meeting but it isn’t ready yet- ‘another couple of weeks’ apparently- sounds familiar!

The project looks like to be circa $700,000- so we have a few more bbqs to go yet!

We have 4 locals interested in joining the Brigade. This is fantastic and we look forward to them becoming part of the crew. If anyone else- male or female- 16 years and older would like to join please contact myself or Rob Beardmore 021891996 to have a chat.

New recruits are always welcome as they bring new skills and energy to the Brigade.

We had a theory training session with Westpac Helicopter crew last week and was great to be able to clarify a few things with them. Their night vision goggles allows them to see the flame from a cigarette lighter from over 2 kilometres away! They were so cool to put on and look through- an excellent xmas present for the bloke with all the toys already I reckon- trouble is $10,000 US probably means they wont be in my stocking!

So please keep yourself safe.

Don’t hesitate to call 111 if you need us- best to call us first and then try to put your fire out than the other way around!!

Thanks to the community for its support.

Chief Fire Officer Russell Green 021 655461

Puhoi Rural Fire Brigade

Fire Your Passion?

For those of you busy doing your burning up before the annual Restricted Fire Season on lighting open fires in rural areas of Auckland City kicks in, here is a message from our fire chiefs. Normally the restriction runs from December 1 to March 31, but indications are that it might start a bit earlier in our area and also continue later as soil moisture levels have never really recovered properly from last summer’s drought. Permits can normally be applied to burn up outside in the restricted season by contacting Auckland Council on 09 4265169.People are becoming less tolerant these days of their neighbours’ smoke, even in country areas, where it is a legal activity for most of the year, says our fire chief, Russell Green, ‘so please exercise commonsense when you are lighting a fire and choose a time and a day when the smoke will go straight up, that is, with no wind. Early morning is best’. Russell will be providing us with updates as to the current status of 2013-2014 summer season restrictions.

Puhoi Rural Fire Brigade Report: August 1013

25/08/2013
Puhoi Fire Brigade Report for the Forum Meeting.
The current workload is light, which seems to be consistent with most of the other rural brigades under the Auckland Council Rural Fire Authority. As with other years specialist training is in full swing during winter and is happening most weekends- 2 more crew have now done USAR (urban search and rescue) training to ‘Orange Card’ status- the highest a rural fire fighter can obtain- we now have 7 crew at that level. We certainly had a wary eye on the earthquakes in Wellington the other day!
We have been called out to land the Westpac helicopter a couple of times lately and it certainly is an impressive machine and its ability to save lives by getting patients to hospital in the quickest possible time is with out question. Any donations made to Westpac is very worthwhile.
We have also done some flooding calls and I have dealt with ‘smoke nuisance’ calls too- yes it is an open season for fires but the smoke from your fire is not allowed to become a nuisance to your neighbours- please have some consideration in regards to this.
Currently we have a crew of 11 and as always we would welcome any person, male or female,16 years and older to come along and  join- the main criteria is a pulse and a heartbeat and the ability to be able to respond to the station, at normal road speed and within the road rules, in around 5 minutes or less.
The Fire Station project continues with our Expressions of Interest to build a Fire Station generating 7 enquiries from various builders. Currently the Fire Station Committee is dealing with 4 of those builders in regards to design,etc. As it’s a moving target at this stage we haven’t got a fixed or finalized design to share with the community yet-but once we do settle on something then we will introduce it to the community for feedback. Clearly the Resource Consent and the Building Code dictate the majority of the design criteria. We hope to be building late this year or early next year.
We now have access to the property and the house at 52 Ahuroa Road so you will start to see some activity there.
The Council has asked that we advertise the house for removal, as well as the tin shed and so if anyone is interested in either one or both of them then please contact me. The water tank is for sale too.
And thanks heaps to Ross Tohlopf for mowing the section for us as we start to tidy it up.
Apparently there was some discussion at the last forum meeting re the ability for the Brigade to be fully functional without a water tanker at our station.
A tanker is a bonus but not a prerequisite to a fire brigade. As explained at an earlier forum meeting there were several reasons the tanker was not repaired and therefore removed from the station- age of tanker, repair costs, and strategic location to name a couple. Auckland Rural Fire consider Puhoi as not requiring one at this point in time and they make the rules and have the cheque book!!
Most brigade’s DON’T have tankers, Ahuroa, Kaukapakapa, Muriwai, Waitakere, Karekare to name a few fellow rural brigades. Warkworth, Wellsford, Helensville, to name a few NZ Fire Service Brigades. Our nearest tanker is Silverdale and then Matakana.
Our fire appliance carries 1300 litres of water and as we are always backed up by Silverdale or Warkworth then obviously their respective appliances carry water too. Any significant fire then a tanker would be responded in the first instance anyway. Every house in Puhoi has a water tank as well that we can access if need be.
So as much as we would have liked to keep our tanker, the decision wasn’t ours to make in the end ( Auckland Council fund us and all our vehicles) and we will adapt as need be to ensure we can continue to protect the community the best we can.
Further to the above,our existing Medical ute is about to be replaced with a much more modern ute that is equipped with a ‘Fire Fogger’ unit on the back so it has fire fighting capabilities as well as doubling for first response/medical purposes. This ‘Fire Fogger’ unit is the FIRST one in NZ and Puhoi is to get it so we are pretty excited about that- the new technology will allow us to put out fires with the minimum amount of water and the test video’s certainly look impressive in regards to that. We hope to get this by late October, so if anyone wants to buy our old 4wd,Mazda Bounty ute, one careful owner then let me know.( sorry lights and sirens will be removed!)
So until next time, stay safe and thank you for your support.
If you require the brigade then always ring 111 and ask for fire.
CFO Russell Green
021 655461
russell.green@capricorn.coop

Puhoi Rural Force Force May Report

28/05/2013 Report for the Forum.

 firebrigade-large

The brigade has been quiet of late with just medicals being our mainstay. It always amazes me just how often there is not an ambulance readily available from Warkworth or Silverdale and we get responded whilst one is sent up from town or Wellsford. That said it is something we do willingly for the community and are lucky to have 4 St John Ambulance personnel in our brigade to help perform these duties.

Members of the Puhoi Brigade spent many hours at the 3 big fires the region had this year- Gt Barrier, Tapora and Matakana, and gained some fantastic fire ground knowledge and skills during this time. All reports from the fire ground bosses were that our members were a credit to the brigade. Well done!

Obviously the Fire Season is now well and truly over. As we are all now part of the large Auckland Fire District we in Rodney had to wait for other areas of Auckland to get rain so the whole area could be changed to an open season- which is why it took so long even though Puhoi was very damp indeed.

Please remember that even though it is an open season for fires there is a provision in the clean air act regarding smoke and if we are called out to a fire that has a smoke nuisance element to it we have to extinguish it. Oh and don’t put your hot ashes in a plastic bucket either, especially on a wooden deck!!!

Unfortunately age gets the better of some things and our tanker has succumbed to old age and wear and tear. The engine has given up. The Council in its wisdom has deemed that Puhoi shall no longer have a tanker much to the brigade’s disappointment and will not be repairing it. However the Brigade will be getting a newer ute to replace our own one and it with have some special fire fighting apparatus on it- a first in NZ apparently- so we are looking forward to this and what it can do.

Of most importance is the issuing of the Resource Consent to allow us to build our Fire Station at 52 Ahuroa Rd.

Although the process was lengthy and sometimes moving at a glacial pace I am comfortable that it was fair process and allowed the affected parties to share their concerns and have them considered. The hearing was before two commissioners who had visited the site and were fully aware of Puhoi’s uniqueness. All parties acted with integrity and I thank them for that. The consent has come with some restrictions which we have fully agreed with in the interests of preserving the neighbours privacy. In fact the brigade requested of the commissioners that some usage was removed from the application as we could see that it was infringing on the neighbours rights and we felt it important to prioritise that.

So now that we have the resource consent we need to get some plans drawn up and approved then off to the funders for some money we go. Our best gestimate at this stage is we will need to raise another $300,000 to complete the station, which will probably be about $600,000 in total. Obviously these figures will be able to be verified once plans,etc have been agreed and finalised. We are now requesting letters of interest from contractors or professionals that can help us in the design, plan, build of the Station.

The Brigade will have a display at the June Farmers Market for people to come and view a mock up of a draft design of the station to get feedback and ideas from the community, that we can incorporate in the final design. We are hoping to get some tangible progress by the end of the year.

The brigade is also looking for new volunteers ( or even some of the oldtimers to come back! ) so please contact myself or Rob Beardmore if you are interested. The main prerequisite is to live or work close enough to the station so you can respond within 4 minutes.

So, keep yourself safe, report any incidents to 111 and thanks for your support.

Russell Green

Chief Fire Officer

Puhoi.

021 655461

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