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Firefighters have been fighting fewer fires and attending
more medical and rescue emergencies in the Southern region.
Figures released to the Otago Daily Times show structure
fires across the region were trending downwards in the decade
Fire Service southern region acting commander Stu Rooney said
it was pleasing to note structural fires in the South had
been reducing, particularly in areas such as Oamaru and Gore.
However, at a national level, Invercargill remained too high
in recorded cases of structural fires, and preventive work
would continue to be carried in the city to reduce the risk.
The East Otago area - which includes Dunedin - mirrored
closely the Fire Service's national goals and "we are putting
effort into sustaining the level, but we are really putting
effort into the places that are way too high".
Mr Rooney said it was important to keep the trend of fewer
false alarms continuing, particularly where volunteer
brigades were concerned.
"It takes firefighters away from their family, their
employment ... and can make people complacent, which is
The Fire Service was also actively assisting building owners,
fire alarm maintenance companies, and contractors to reduce
false alarm call-outs, "because it is better to fix a problem
than just continually charge for the problem".
A formal agreement with St John was behind the increase in
medical emergencies and assisting ambulances, which has
effectively doubled in the decade since 2002-03.
"As a consequence of that agreement, we are seeing the
organisation respond to more medical calls and we are seeing
that right across the country."
Co-responding to life threatening calls alongside St John
would result in "earlier intervention, and earlier
intervention results in lives saved".
Over the past few decades, the service's role had changed
from predominantly firefighting to an emergency response
Mr Rooney confirmed this month he would be leaving to become
the Fire Service's national operations manager in Wellington.