Glimpse into the services

A member of the Tauranga AOS team stands guard as police dog handler Mark Chapman with his dog Mario prepare for the police open day on Sunday.

Police officers, firefighters and rescue services – to some they’re just everyday people doing a job.

But to others they’re the first point of call in emergencies, rescues and in times of danger; the men and woman sacrificing time away from their own loved ones to ensure the safety of everyone else’s.

Now, residents from the Bay of Plenty will get the chance to walk in their shoes for a day, during an array of recruitment and open days this weekend.

Kicking it off is the Tauranga Fire Brigade recruitment day, held at Chapel Street Shopping Centre, on Saturday, March 10.

Station officer Jeff Francis says the day is a great chance for those interested in a career in the industry to get up close with volunteers.

“Being a fire fighter is not a nine-to-five commitment,” says Jeff. “When you are on call, you have to be ready to respond at the drop of a hat and tackle whatever challenge you may be about to face.

“It’s not just about putting out fires - calls can be to any number of incidents, from medical emergencies and flooding to motor vehicle accidents and chemical spills.”

Volunteer fire fighters from Tauranga will be at the shopping centre from 9am-12pm on Saturday.

Members of the public will have the chance to talk to fire fighters about what they do, find out about the equipment they use, try it out and see if they have what it takes to volunteer.

Following this, members of public will also get to go behind the scenes at Tauranga Police Station during their public open day on Sunday, March 11, from 10am-12pm.

The day is part of a nationwide opening of police stations.

Bay of Plenty District Commander, Superintendent Andy McGregor, says it will enable police to connect with local communities and will be a good chance for people to get a glimpse of a potential career path.

“There will be a number of activities on display during the day to give a real insight into the job we do,” says Superintendent McGregor, “including displays from the Armed Offenders squad, police dog teams and staff from specialist teams including road policing, youth and CIB.

“We’ll also have staff on hand at both events who can talk to and provide advice and information to anyone considering policing as a career.”

The event is often popular in the region and has been attended by thousands in previous years.

Coinciding with this is the Trustpower TECT Rescue Helicopter 2018 open day, from 10am-2pm, at Tauranga Hospital.

Spokesperson Nadine Rogers says: “We host this event at our hangar every year. The community are able to come and see inside the hangar and get the chance to see the helicopter and meet the crew.”

The day involves demos, competitions and a barbecue and Nadine says it’s often quite popular.

“It’s an opportunity for us to educate the public on what we do and it’s also a chance to give back to the community. Without them, the rescue helicopter wouldn’t be there.

“We rely heavily on community funding both from business and individual funding.”

Nadine adds while they ask for a donation, it is a free event.

Concluding the event is a toy run, which is part of the Ulysses Club annual charity ride.

“It’s in aid of the Trustpower TECT rescue helicopter and St John Ambulance,” says co-ordinator Marius Swanfield.

“Our ride begins in Papamoa Plaza, departing at 11am, and then stopping at the ASB Park roundabout, through Maungatapu, past Welcome Bay, Barkes Corner and down Cameron Road.

“Anyone with a motorbike can come along. Basically we ask all riders to buy a toy run badge for $10, which also gives them a lucky draw ticket for some donated prizes.

“All the riders bring little toys and we hand out toys to the children at the hospital after the ride.”