Station Assistant, Matthew Swaffield the Governors Bay Volunteer Fire Brigade
by Matthew Swaffield
My name is Matthew Swaffield and I volunteer with the Governors Bay Volunteer Fire Brigade. On Thursday night we do our practice. I help the fire fighters with the rolling up the hoses after the call outs, when we do practices I help with the traffic management which means cars have to slow down near the fire engines and the fire fighters.
I joined the Fire Brigade when I was a student at Riccarton High School. I train with the Governors Bay volunteers on a Thursday evening from 7-9pm. We do all sorts of exercises with the fire trucks. I’ve learnt how to use the hoses, the pumps and to help direct traffic, when there is an accident. I also learn a lot about putting out fires. I have been to the Woolston Fire station where there is a tower and we learn how to get people out of burning buildings.
I also learn how to do CPR (that means cardiac pulmonary resuscitation) and first aid. Quite often I have to be a patient, so the fire man can rescue me. It is great fun and the crew at Governors Bay are wonderful people. They had to work so hard when there were the Port Hills fires in Christchurch. I am very proud of my crew and think about them and hope they are safe when the fire alarm goes off.
At the Governors Bay fete I met Ruth Dyson; we go to the fete and I helped the children look at the fire truck and we played with the pumps and hoses.
I have been volunteering for nearly nine years. I have my five year medal and another 2 year silver bar plus a 2011 International Volunteer of the Year medal. I am the Station Assistant. I do not go out on the call outs but the fire fighters use me at practice as the patient, when they are training. I am the person they have to rescue when there is a car accident.
In March 2014 I took part in the celebration for the Governors Bay Fire Brigade Silver Jubilee. The main event was a demonstration of a rescue from a car crash. I was the pretend driver of the car. My crew had to cut me out of the car.
They showed the crowd how they use the machine cutter to take the top off the car. It was very noisy but they make me wear ear plugs. I was put on a stretcher after I was taken out of the car.
There were other events that day with a new fire engine with a very long ladder. Some of my crew went up the ladder to squirt the hose. There was a bouncy castle for the children and fire brigade games.
In the evening there was a dinner and speeches and dancing.
It was a great day.