Carterton’s volunteer fire brigade. PHOTO/MAZZ SCANNELL

MAZZ SCANNELL

Volunteer firefighters at the Carterton Fire Brigade train hard in the hope they never have to use their skills.

Adam Kenning has been a volunteer firefighter at station 62, as it is known, for over three years.

He joined to learn life skills, master technical procedures, and give back to the community.

“As I’ve gained more hands-on experience, I’ve realised that the skills I’ve learned as a volunteer apply to all facets of my life,” he says.

Part of the criteria of being a volunteer is to live within a five-kilometre radius of the station. This is no problem to Kenning, he lives five kilometres away – and because he is a haulage truck driver, he is never far away.

It’s a busy station. In the past 12 months, its responded to 220 calls.

Most of them are medical-related, followed closely by motor vehicle incidents, and scrub, vegetation, and structural fires.

Last week, the brigade was the first on the scene of a major house fire in Mangatarere Valley Rd, which had seven appliances attending, including engines from Palmerston North and Hutt Valley.

The volunteers are a close-knit team.

They train three Wednesdays a month and enter national competitions.

This year the brigade was placed first and fourth in the 2019 North Island Waterway competitions, which has a focus on fire hoses and pumps. It was runner-up and seventh at the nationals.

Kenning really enjoys the friendships he has formed since joining and said they are actively looking for more volunteers, particularly women, as they bring a good balance to the team.