Most New Zealanders don’t realise that over 80% of the country’s firefighters are volunteers. The support of the volunteers’ employers enables the service to keep our communities safe. As of June 2020, over 11,500 New Zealanders served in voluntary fire brigades throughout the country—among the highest number of volunteer firefighters per capita in the world.
Electrix is proud to employ fire and emergency volunteers who play an essential role in keeping our communities safe.
Along with seven other Electrix staff across the country, Taupo project manager Brad Eyre has been a Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) volunteer for over 10 years.
Brad joined the fire service when he and a friend moved to Taupo and didn’t know anybody. Together they joined the golf club, the cosmopolitan club and the fire brigade. To this day, Brad is still a member of all three.
“I joined to meet people, and get amongst the community,” said Brad.
As part of the Taupo Urban and Lake Taupo Rural Volunteer Fire Brigade, Brad puts in two hours of training a week every Tuesday night. He attends training courses throughout the year, predominantly on weekends, but sometimes they fall on weekdays.
“One of the guys down here is currently on a qualified firefighter’s course in Rotorua that runs Wednesday through to Sunday, so he’s had to take time off work to do that.” advised Brad.
As an officially registered Proud Employer of Fire and Emergency Volunteers, Electrix grants time off whenever volunteers have training or need to attend an emergency and FENZ reimburse staff for any leave they take.
“From time to time we get called up. You don’t have to turn up every time if you’re away or super busy at work, but there will be times when you’re on call and say ‘yeah, I can go’,” explained Brad.
Making it even easier, the Taupo Fire Station is only 300 metres down the road from the Electrix Taupo office meaning Brad just “runs down the road to get there” when he’s needed.
At one point of time Brad was an electrician at Scott Base in Antarctica where his firefighting knowledge was helpful.
“Everyone has to do fire training down there, but I was already a volunteer. That helped me with getting the job and I ended being the fire chief down there.”