Family and whānau

If you’re part of a volunteer’s family and whānau, it’s helpful to know a bit more about what they do and how you can support them. You play an important role because with your support, our volunteers can do what they do best, keep our communities safe.

What to expect

Volunteering is a big commitment; most volunteers are on call 24/7, 365 days a year and may need to be able to respond to emergencies with little notice. They also attend regular training so they can maintain their skills.

Brigades vary a lot in the number of call-outs they get. Some may have daily call-outs and operate a roster. Other brigades may attend three to four call-outs a week, or as little as 10 in a year.

Call-outs to small fires, medical incidents and vehicle accidents could mean your volunteer is away for 30 minutes to two hours. Whereas call-outs to large vegetation or structure fires, flooding and search and rescue, may take longer. 

Supporting your volunteer

Everyone’s different, some volunteers may share what they’ve done on a call-outs, and others may not want to talk about it.

Volunteers attend regular training where they practise, learn new skills, and develop the team work they need to safely respond to emergencies. Supporting your volunteer to attend training is key to giving them the skills they need to keep themselves and others safe.

Sometimes your volunteer might be called out to an incident late at night. They might need an extra nap, or to go to bed early the next day. Being understanding that they might be a bit more tired than usual is a small way to show your support. When your volunteer joins, you’ll also receive information about the support you can provide.

Join the network

Brigades will often organise events and ways to connect with other volunteer families, friends and whānau. Here are a few of the most common:

  • BBQs and potluck dinners
  • Birthday celebrations and Christmas parties for the kids
  • Opportunities for family and friends to visit the station to see what volunteers do
  • Facebook groups that give the brigade crew and families the chance to share with one another.

Being part of the Fire and Emergency whānau means you become part of a New Zealand-wide network of volunteers and their families, all with similar experiences and a shared pride in the contribution that our volunteers make.

We look forward to having you join our team.