Where’s the fire?
By H Sthompson
Ever thought of being a career firefighter?
Now is your chance, as The New Zealand Fire and Emergency Service is recruiting.
Roger Callister, Assistant Area Commander, New Zealand Fire & Emergency, is a veteran firefighter with 41 years of service under his belt, stationed at the Pitt Street Fire Station.
Roger is responsible for his teams access to the resources they need including training and help when needed.
The Pitt Street Fire Brigade responds to 3500 calls on average per year. Many of them via Karangahape Road.
Roger says many call outs involve death or don’t have a nice outcome.
“Many firefighters struggle with this. No one likes seeing these events. But sometimes you have a successful outcome. It is important to address any issues as soon as possible to achieve good outcomes,” says Roger.
Before becoming a career firefighter, Roger studied astro physics, but didn’t see much future in rocket science.
Roger says he grew sick of studying.
“I didn’t really know what I was going to do with my degree,” says Roger. “My neighbour was a firefighter. I thought I’d do it for a few years, but it is a great job. If you have a successful mission you can feel really good. You know you are helping someone.”
Roger says his the job has changed a lot.
“We used to only go to fires and car accidents. Now we go to all sorts of incidents. Once we got called out for a bird stuck in a tree,” says Roger. He laughs but explains that it was someones pet that had escaped.
“As far as the Karangahape Road community goes, it’s an interesting street. I live in an apartment nearby so am well and truly a part of the community. We don’t generally have issues with the general public of K’ Road, but we do get a few more onlookers on a Friday and Saturday night. A lot of people think there is a charge for calling out the fire brigade. But there isn’t”
“The sooner someone calls us, the sooner we can reach them,” says Roger.
Roger says a a good firefighter is someone who can deal with some unpleasant sides of life and wants to do something to make that better.
“Often firefighters have the Kiwi number eight wire mentality.”
Auckland is divided into three areas with 11 stations and 240 firefighters.
The Pitt Street station is a historic building that opened in 1949.
At that time firefighters worked more than 100 hour shifts and their whole family would live with them at the station.
Today firefighters work four days on, four days off.
New Zealand Fire and Emergency is currently recruiting. If you think you have the right stuff visit https://www.fireandemergency.nz