Our firefighters of the future

Thursday 29 April 2021 | Written by Alana Musselle | Published in Local, National


Our firefighters of the future
Future firefighter Rouru Tamatoa trying out the firehose. ALANA MUSSELLE/21042803

For their last outing for April, Autism Cook Islands yesterday visited the team of firefighters at the Rarotonga Fire and Aviation Rescue centre.

It was a great turnout with over 20 members of the Autism CI community showing up with their families to learn about what it takes to be a firefighter and what is involved in the job.

Crew chief Edwin Teraitua and training officer Amos Tobia led the demonstration, giving each of the kids a turn at squirting the firehose, a ride in the fire engines, and even a display of 20 push-ups to demonstrate the level of fitness required to earn a fireman’s jacket and helmet.

“It’s always a pleasure having kids come in to visit, especially our Autistic and gifted children. Seeing their smiling faces shows us that they enjoyed their day, and it’s fun for us as well to open our doors to the public and display what it is that we do here,” said Tobia. 

It has been a busy time for Autism Cook Islands with April being the official Autism Awareness Month.

In addition to hosting ‘Blue Day’ – one of their biggest events of the year – earlier in April, the organisation has also just finished a six-week swimming programme. This will resume again in Term 4 when summer returns.

The organisation’s outing to see the firefighters was the last for this month before their initiatives for May begin.

A Lego Programme for the young ones, along with a Lego Robotics programme for the seniors, is set to take place in Term 2. These aim to help the social and communication skills of autistic children. There will also be an ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) workshop, held in partnership with Andre Ansen from the Ministry of Education, which aims to create further awareness.

“It’s all about awareness. Yes, April was our official awareness month but we want to create awareness for autism all year round,” said Kat Jensen, office manager for Autism Cook Islands.

The Fire and Aviation Rescue Team said it was “an honour working alongside these special people”, and they look forward to hosting these future firefighters again.