More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

People with disabilities collaborate with responders on fire safety

Sunday 24 September 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


People with disabilities collaborate  with responders on fire safety
The Cook Islands National Disability Council, Fire Service New Zealand’s Mirren Allan and Nick Linton, Alistair Macquarie- Teimorimotia Fire Chief, Apike Marsters and Royale Henry from the Airport Rescue Fire Service, and Titikaveka MP Sonny Williams attended the first fire safety campaign for persons with impairment/disability. MELINA ETCHES/23092220

Through a request from the Cook Islands National Disability Council (CINDC), Mirren Allan and Nick Linton, both Fire Emergency New Zealand senior advisors, are conducting programmes across the island on readiness, preparedness, and response to fires.

The senior advisors from the Wellington District delivered a workshop for the Disability Council at the Teimurimotia Takitumu Fire Station yesterday, to teach in particular the equipment that exists for disabled people in fires. They include equipment such as specialised smoke alarms for deaf people.

Linton said that it is important for everyone, including persons with a disability or an impairment, to prepare in advance.

“Having a plan in advance, as well as people that are close to you or that you live with knowing that plan and knowing how to assist you when an emergency happens, is essential,” he said.

“There’s no point in trying to figure it out on the day. Have a plan in advance and people around you who know how to execute that plan, especially if you can’t execute it yourself.”

Linton and Allan will also be teaching fire safety to school children next week in conjunction with the Cook Islands firefighters who are onboard promoting fire safety to the community.

“New Zealand has a supporting role and we support the local firefighters to continue the work in their own communities,” he said.

Linton noted that this safety campaign is also historic as it is the first formalised educational campaign. Brochures written in Māori and English for kids to take home to their families will also be distributed.

He also acknowledged the support and collaboration of the three fire chiefs on the island.

Alistair Macquarie, Teimurimotia fire chief, is pleased to see the programme being rolled out.

“We are working together to help present this programme and build confidence within ourselves in presenting to little kids,” Macquarie said.

Ngatokorua Tara, president of the National Disability Council, said that this is the first time people with disabilities have been involved with the responders, particularly the fire service.

“There are huge gaps in emergency response services, gaps in knowing how to help our people as our people have got a diverse impairment,” said Tara, who was pleased to see the safety campaign begin.

Apike Marsters and Royale Henry from the Airport Rescue Fire Service, and Sonny Williams, Titikaveka’s Member of Parliament, also attended the workshop.