The school was one of 17 organisations at the recent Employers Recognition Awards, a formal dinner hosted by the Thames Volunteer Firefighters to thank employers for their support.
Thames High School’s volunteers are office assistant Siobhan Flanigan, and senior students Georgia Cook, Cole Edwards, Michelle Hayes and Mitchell Murphy.
They’re all trained and ready to leap up from their desks and race to an emergency any time the fire siren sounds across Thames. Wearing 27kg of gear, they attend between 150 – 220 call-outs a year. While some are false alarms, there are also car accidents, fires or medical emergencies.
Siobhan has been a member of the Volunteer Fire Brigade for 6 1/2 years, and serves as a mentor for the students.
She said all 29 operational crew have thorough training on all aspects of firefighting, such as first aid, personal safety, ladder work, and using breathing apparatus, cutting gear, pumps and 30m hoses. For the students, some of that training counts as credit towards NCEA. To drive the engines, an HT (truck) license is required.
She said the brigade is like a little family, with each member of the team working to their strengths in emergency situations. She enjoys being part of something that helps the wider community.
Any student interested in becoming a volunteer can find out more about it from Siobhan.
Other Thames High School students are members of Volunteer Fire Brigades in Puriri, Tapu and Coromandel.