Puaikura Volunteer firefighters Selina Shariff and Asaeli Vunibaka. SUPPLIED/22041013
Puaikura Volunteer Fire Brigade members have been assisting Te Marae Ora (TMO) Ministry of Health first responders for the past month.
With Covid-19 affecting staff levels, the volunteer firefighters have helped keep the ambulance service covered with personnel.
Volunteer firefighter Tarina Moorfield said each week
an ambulance officer had either contracted Covid-19 or needed to isolate with
affected family members.
“This has placed huge pressure on the already
struggling service. So, when the call went out for support from the Puaikura volunteers,
they were all too happy to help where they could,” Moorfield said.
In 2021, the Puaikura Fire Brigade signed a memorandum
of understanding with TMO to formalise the working relationship. It’s meant TMO
have been able to call on the brigade for support and assistance where needed.
The firefighters also assisted TMO with the
vaccination rollout last year.
Moorfield said most of the volunteer firefighters have
been trained to a level of pre-hospital emergency care.
“These skills, coupled with their emergency response
driving, it seems fitting for them to transfer these skills over to the
She said volunteer firefighters helping first
responders is not uncommon.
“In fact, many rural and semi-rural fire stations
throughout New Zealand, co-respond with ambulances to medical incidents.
“This could be a strategy that is considered within
Rarotonga to boost coverage of ambulance services and improve emergency service
But Moorfield said for now the volunteer firefighters were working with TMO colleagues “just to keep the wheels in motion” and serve their community.