This report was taken from NZ Herald in 2011 and represents our work within the communities, particularly during emergencies and natural disasters. The Fire Service is getting creative in the search for space to park engines at its earthquake-hit Christchurch headquarters.

The central fire station in Kilmore St was badly damaged during the February 22 earthquake, with only one of its three buildings still useable. The appliance bay was one of those declared unsafe, so a makeshift station has been constructed in Kilmore St.

A canopy, erected by SmartShelters, between two rows of shipping containers shelters provides space for three engines, with emergency equipment stored in the containers on either side.  Senior station officer Nigel Brook said the shelter worked well.

*‘We normally have five trucks out of here. Now there’s one at Sockburn, one at St Albans and one in New Brighton.” He said a water tanker on loan from Carterton and two engines would be kept at the central-city site. “We’re keeping that here because that’s where our biggest water problem is.”

He said the division of resources would boost the city wide sendee.

“There is an issue with having such a large station and having all your gear stocked in one place.” he said.

The inner-city cordon has removed the need for a centralised service.

“It’s easy from the point of view of we’re net getting calls like we used to because there’s just nobody in there.” he said. Another canopy was erected at tho New Brighton station on Monday. 

Living quarters for four firefighters were also In place, allowing the volunteer station to be permanently staffed. Brook said the extra support would benefit one of the hardest-hit parts of the city. 

“We’ve got problems with response times in the eastern suburbs, with the condition of the roads.”

Engineer Richard Gazzard, of SmartShelters in Auckland, said canopies were not often used in urban areas but were common at mines and quarries. They took about a day to put up, he said.