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We are lucky to have great local Fire Brigades here in Kapiti and Horowhenua. Recently I was honoured to attend two Gold Star presentations to recognise the long-service of local fire officers in our community.

On Saturday Deputy Chief Fire Officer Carl Beissel received a double Gold Star for 50 years of service to the Levin Volunteer Fire Brigade. 50 years of service is a great achievement and everyone at the function was very proud of the work Carl has done in the Horowhenua area.

In February I also attended a Gold Star presentation in Waikanae for Glen Sarich to recognise his 25 years of service to the Waikanae Volunteer Fire Brigade. Since 1991 Glen has had an impressive average attendance of 82%. Kapiti is lucky to have such a loyal volunteer. 

Congratulations and thank you to Carl and Glen for their 75 years of collective service dedicated to helping our community. It’s not always easy to leave your family whenever called upon to tend to an emergency.

Attending to serious motor vehicle accidents is sadly an important part of Fire Brigade work these days, but the good news is improvements to local roads such as the Kapiti Expressway will reduce serious motor vehicle accidents. The median barrier separation on the expressway will make a real difference and reduce the number of head-on accidents.

New legislation is currently progressing through Parliament that will change the Fire Service structure to Fire and Emergency New Zealand. It will modernise the service while ensuring volunteers are well looked after.  

The Government also recently announced a new nationwide broadcasting alert system that will send information to mobile phones in the event of an emergency. The alerts will appear similar to text messages and will be automatically received by mobile phones in a set area.

The service will be free, making it available to everyone who uses a mobile. The system is on track to be up and running by the end of the year and will be a great innovation to help keep communities safe.

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