The Future...
Many volunteer brigades in metropolitan areas have disappeared in recent years. Some reasons for this are:
  • Lack of work to keep volunteer firefighters involved within their own area.
  • The reluctance of employers to release employees for fire calls when there is a surplus of people willing to take a job in times of high unemployment.
  • The self-employed tradesmen who stand to lose income and delay completion of jobs, etc.
The record does work against the suburban volunteer fire brigades. However, there is a determination to ensure that this brigade continues and with the admission of female firefighters, there is a barely-tapped resource to assist in the continuation of brigade activities.
Government policy during 1993/94 saw the introduction of a Review of the Fire Service to be undertaken by the newly appointed Chief Executive, Mr Maurie Cummings. One of the purposes of the Review was to reduce the cost of the service. As a result, many of the senior management positions held by permanent firefighters disappeared. The Newlands brigade were given the option of becoming a Fire District in their own right or joining another Fire District as the Wellington Fire District would no longer exist. The brigade opted to become a Fire District with the result the Newlands Fire District was gazetted with effect from 3 April 1995. This changed the post of the Station Commander to that of District Chief Fire Officer. In time the brigade will be responsible for its own budget negotiated with the Area Chief Fire Officer together with a Service Level Agreement. The brigade is now on a similar footing to the majority of other fully-fledged volunteer fire brigades throughout the country. A further possible change may see the brigade being first response to medical type emergencies pending the arrival of the Ambulance Service.
In June 1994 the Brigade admitted its first female firefighter to the ranks.   Affectionately referred to as Firebird One, she has been easily assimilated into the Brigade and has shown that there is truly a place for the female firefighter within a Volunteer Unit.
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