Fuelling up the first responders

The food truck has been funded by the Tauranga City Lion’s Club, along with donations from Bunnings. Photo: Supplied.

Emergency responders attending an emergency in the Western Bay of Plenty for an extended period of time now have a facility to fuel their own engines thanks to community support.

“Our Tauranga firefighters were inspired to create a trailer to hook onto the back of a Fire and Emergency NZ ute, acting as a catering station for firefighters during midnight emergencies,” says FENZ’s Bay of Plenty District Manager Jeff Maunder.

The local fire service team approached Tauranga Harbour City Lions Club with the proposal, and club president Faye Mayo says they decided to fund the whole facility, worth $24,000.

Faye says the fire service will utilise the truck, but it will be used by other services when needed.

“The truck will be used by all emergency services in Tauranga, providing food and drink for officers attending emergency incidents that require working for longer hours.

“Before this they used to get takeaways. The truck will ensure they are fed properly and will have access to hot drinks. It’s making sure they are fed and looked after.”

The club, which this year celebrated 30 years of service to the community, raised the funds via their annual book fair at Tauranga Racecourse.

Harbour City Lions Club and other sponsor Bunnings, and Norris Engineering which constructed it, were thanked by senior fire officer Bruce Rutherford.

Jeff says food options can be scarce when firefighters are out late at night, especially in smaller towns –so the food truck is a valuable addition. “Powered by a generator, the trailer has a barbecue, microwave, freezer, lights, and an urn for making hot tea and coffee.

“While firefighters were still fed before the trailer was operational, it makes those longer nights a lot easier with a hot coffee and burger in hand!”

Jeff says FENZ provides fire stations, fire trucks, and other assets for responding to emergencies.

“We also ensure our firefighters are accommodated and fed during any major long duration incident. “Food and refreshments are arranged by the FENZ Incident Management Team, who often contract outside caterers to do the job.

“Brigades also can fundraise for additional assets for their brigade. The trailer, cooking equipment, gazebo and deck chairs were very generously donated by Bunnings Tauranga and the Lion’s Club, with the help of Te Puke trailers.

“We are hugely appreciative of any donations that support our firefighters. All food is provided by FENZ, including vegan and gluten-free options. The trailer had an official iwi blessing on March 30.”

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