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
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,”
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.