Ranfurly Volunteer Fire Brigade opened its doors to the public over the weekend as part of its 75th jubilee celebrations.
About 70 people turned out to see firefighters in action, explore the station and see the appliances on Saturday.
The brigade also celebrated half a century of service for senior firefighter Ewan Mason.
Ranfurly Chief Fire Officer James Hazlett said the number of people present was fantastic.
CFO Hazlett, who had volunteered for 38 years, said the brigade had seen many changes in its time.
In the past, it was enough to ‘‘put the wet stuff on the hot stuff’’.
Thirty years ago, fire brigades began responding to medical incidents.
‘‘That was a big thing for a lot of males — they didn’t really think they were ever going to deal with the blood.’’
The biggest change had been in the brigade’s use of technology, he said.
Incident alerts sent to cellphones meant volunteers could travel directly to an incident, rather than reporting first to the fire station.
‘‘Where we have to be travelling say, 15 to 20 minutes for someone who is having a heart attack, some of our members could be there in three to four [minutes] to give aid and maybe save that person’s life.’’
The brigade needed to continue adapting to a changing community, CFO Hazlett said.
‘‘The core principles are the same . .. we’ll train to accordance.’’
With 52 volunteers, Ranfurly was the second biggest volunteer brigade in New Zealand, he said.
‘‘Our communities can’t exist without volunteers.’’
The anniversary celebrations coincided with one volunteer firefighter in the brigade marking 50 years of service. Senior Firefighter Ewan Mason is the longest serving member of the brigade, and received his 50-year medal in a ceremony on Saturday night.
‘‘It’s a great honour,’’ SFF Mason said He had held many roles in his time, including spending 10 years as chief fire officer. He was moved to join the brigade after witnessing a fire in his early teens. ‘‘It was massive house fire that actually left me with some fears towards fire.’’
He decided the best way to overcome the fear was to join the fire brigade. He tried to join when he was 16, but ‘‘the chief of the day decided I was not suitable, not fit for purpose and too young’’.
SFF Mason had more luck the following year, joining the brigade in 1973 at the age of 17.
Joining the brigade ‘‘absolutely’’ relieved his fear of fire, he said.
‘‘[It] cured it at the first fire call.’’
Fifty years of service to his community had ‘‘flown by’’, he said.
In 2020, he was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for services to Fire and Emergency New Zealand and the community.
It was hard to pick out just one memorable incident, he said.
‘‘There’s been some incredibly tragic incidents, which, in a most bizarre way, leave you with quite a sense of fulfilment in that you’ve helped other people.’’
His volunteer work had been a journey of personal growth and service to his community, one that he enjoyed immensely.
‘‘Quite frequently, when we are called to attend an incident, we are attending something that are those people’s worst nightmare,’’ he said.