It was business almost as usual for Ashburton volunteer firefighters who responded to a fire alarm activation at local food processing factory this morning.
At 10.45am, members of Red Watch headed out to what turned out to be a false alarm, they were soon back. The brigade has split into three watches, each working one full week at a time, in rotation, during the lockdown.
Senior station officer Charlie Kelland said his Red Watch was responding to all call-outs until midnight next Wednesday. Then it would be the turn of Green Watch, and in two weeks’ time Blue Watch.
He said splitting the volunteer group into three bubbles reduced chances of contracting or spreading Covid-19 and allowed fire fighters to respond to incidents. They have personal protection equipment that they will wear as required.
‘‘We have tried to minimise contact between members of the brigade,’’ he said.
Today’s change to cold weather also brought a warning about fire safety in the home, especially around heaters and logburners.
People needed to remember not to place combustible objects close to heaters and logburners. Electric blankets still needed to be checked before use if they had been in
storage. Hot ashes should be put outside in a mental container for several days until cold, not in waste bins.
Mr Kelland said fire risks in the home were amplified because more people were at home and cooking in the lockdown, as restaurants and takeaways were closed. Commonsense was needed.
‘‘Building a tent with blankets is in your house is fine, just don’t have candles.”

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