We went along this morning to have a look at the display of equipment at the fire house in Te Moana Road and saw how the brigade operates, not just tackling fires, but also the dispatching of appliances in the control room from the 111 system. We learned how the 111 operators like to get precise instructions on where the problem is and will ask where the nearest side-street intersection is to confirm.
In Waikanae the aim is to have an appliance on-site within 4 minutes of a call being received.
Local volunteer member Susie Mills was demonstrating cardio-pulmonary resuscitation or CPR on someone who is unconscious.
We asked about fire causes — failings by people rather than things like wiring faults represent most of them. Traditional factors are things like unclean chimneys in winter, leaving stove-top cooking unattended, even toasters. These days, electronic devices are a big factor as they can overheat, particularly cellphone chargers which aren’t disconnected.
The guy said that smoke is a major cause of fatalities; in the past combustible materials in houses weren’t too toxic; but these days high concentrations of products from the petro-chemical industries like plastic mean a couple of inhalations of the smoke can be enough to render a person unconscious.
A lot of elderly folks don’t want to be a nuisance when it comes to summoning emergency services, but the fact is the brigade would much rather be called to a false alarm than not be called. It’s a free service.