Different ways to volunteer

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Different ways to volunteer

As a volunteer you can choose from four different types of roles, all essential to supporting our brigades.

Firefighters

Volunteer firefighters respond to a range of incidents and are often the first to the scene of an emergency. Fires make up about a third of call-outs with most incidents being medical emergencies and motor vehicle accidents. Volunteers will also search for and rescue missing people and deal with dangerous substances, weather events and natural disasters.

All our volunteer firefighters are trained as medical co-responders, and to do their jobs safely and effectively. As well as technical skills, they are taught other valuable skills such as teamwork and leadership.

Medical first responders

People who volunteer solely as medical first responders are a very small part of our volunteer workforce. We have fewer than 40 volunteers in this specialist role and they are trained to focus on medical emergencies only.

Operational support

Operational support volunteers respond to emergencies by supporting firefighters and medical first responders at incidents. They carry out tasks to help keep our Fire and Emergency people and the public safe at an incident. For example, managing traffic and pedestrians, closing roads, transporting equipment and providing lighting and refreshments. Operational support volunteers receive relevant training on the station. Some are also trained as medical co-responders.

Some operational support volunteers do not belong to a volunteer fire brigade. Instead they could be part of a standalone operational support unit or a composite station.

Operational support units support nearby fire stations. We have units in Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Whanganui, Palmerston North, Wellington and Christchurch.

Composite stations have operational support volunteers co-located with career firefighters. There are 37 composite fire stations located in smaller metropolitan centres such as New Plymouth, Hastings and Nelson.

Brigade support

Not all volunteers respond to incidents. Brigade support volunteers are key to the success of their brigade, they complete administrative tasks and other duties that keep the brigade running smoothly. They may also work with communities helping them to reduce the risk of fire in homes. Volunteering in brigade support may be ideal for someone who wants to be involved but doesn’t want a frontline role.