It has been 9 years since the celebrations of the Porirua Fire Brigade 50th Jubilee and the business of fire fighting has changed very little, though the Fire Service has changed a lot, some things for the better and some things only time will tell.
The Community Safety Teams brought in by the then Commissioner Roger Estall that caused so much anger and distrust are gone, with all paid staff now on the same roster, and though there are still problems with the paid staff employment contract, the problems between members are few.
The wing nuts on the station sign board are gone, and Porirua Fire Station is now part of the Wellington Fire Area, the biggest in New Zealand that spans from Wellington in the south to Otaki in the North..
There are no longer Chief Fire Officers in areas with paid staff, replaced by Area Managers and Assistant Area Managers. Although in Wellington Area volunteer districts (Tawa, Titahi Bay, Plimmerton, Waikanae and Otaki) Chiefs still remain, reporting to the Area Manager.
The type of call that the station receives are still wide and varied, though the amount of non-fire calls is always growing. The medical Co-responder program stopped by the Commission, while not here in name, is back with fire appliances responding to assist ambulance, or alone when no ambulance is available.
The boundary between urban and rural areas is fading with Whitby and Aotea still growing, and there is still talk of another fire station in the Whitby/Waitangirua area.
The volunteer unit that started it all back in 1950 are still going, though they still have ups and downs as written in the 50th publication by their Officer In Charge.
Porirua received a new fresh from the factory appliance in 2009, a first in over 25 years, and the story goes that even the volunteers will be getting a new (used) appliance next year. Something they are looking forward to, as their Dennis appliance approaches its 25 years.
And of course both paid and volunteer staff have come and gone.
Porirua Fire Station now has 37 paid staff working across four watches, and 16 active volunteer members, with a few more waiting for recruit courses.
Remember When’s of the last 9 years
When the appliance left the engine bay with the door not quite open. Result one appliance less beacons.
When the crew could find no hydrant where they were sure there was one. Where was it? Under the appliance of course.
When the gate valve was knocked over in the station yard, resulting in a movie style water fountain, and a yard sized swimming pool.
When a volunteer (thankfully Female) showed up to the station for a call wearing a French Maid’s uniform (we were told on the way to a party).
When the pager activates in the middle of the night, you rush down to the station to find it in darkness, with all paid staff asleep. You realise then that it’s the low battery alarm.