It always surprises people that I’m a volunteer firefighter based in Auckland, but I’ve been part of Fire and Emergency New Zealand for 14 years. It’s essential that all communities have volunteers to do this work and it’s amazing to be able to be there for people in their time of crisis and to help make their situation a little bit better.
The other day, at five o’clock, I was helping my two little girls in the kitchen to cook dinner when I got a call-out and by 5:30pm, I was attending a housefire. Emergencies can happen at any time and it’s not just the volunteers themselves making the sacrifices, it’s your families who are left behind and it’s your workmates who pick up the slack for you when you’ve gone. So, this is a commitment from everyone, not just the volunteers. I’ve missed work, weddings and family time to do be a firefighter but you get much more than you lose, because of the way you’re helping people.
In some fire brigades, nearly half of the firefighters are Fonterra employees, so it’s really important that we can make that commitment to the communities we live and work in. Fonterra and its employees know it’s the right thing to do, and we’re proud to do it and it sits within our values of being Good Together.