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Kiwi firefighters put Cooks counterparts through their paces

Friday 14 April 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Local, National


Kiwi firefighters put Cooks counterparts through their paces
Firefighters during an exercise in Rarotonga on Thursday, from left, Rotorua station officer Paul Manuel, Rotorua senior firefighter Dane O’Brien, Puaikura Volunteer Fire Brigade firefighter Fletcher Melvin and Wanganui training officer Ross Whetton. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/23041349

Rarotonga firefighters are being put to the test as their Kiwi counterparts undertake a week long exercise in “just about everything we do”.

On Thursday they were spotted in town where about a dozen firefighters were involved in a mock exercise to retrieve two bodies from a building.

Wanganui based training officer Ross Whetton said four Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) staff arrived on the island on Monday and commenced “delivery of training across the board” on Tuesday.   

They will continue with training until Wednesday next week when they will take part in a live fire exercise.

Whetton said they are covering everything from basic firefighting to search and rescue.

During the Thursday exercise several Rarotonga firefighters were tasked with entering a derelict building and locating two bodies – with zero visibility.

A black out scenario.

Whetton said they had already completed water pump training and would move to portable water pump training today.

He said about a dozen Rarotonga firefighters are involved in the training.

Whetton said it was the first time since Covid-19 that Kiwi fire crews had undertaken training with their Cooks counterparts.