Equipped with flashing lights and a siren, the one of a kind Case IH Farmall tractor named Kahu is helping Fire and Emergency New Zealand spread the message about fire safety in rural areas.
Although wrapped in the same livery you'd find on trucks across the country, it isn't being used to fight fires. Instead, this tractor – a symbol of the rural industry – helps Fire and Emergency start conversations about developing greater resilience, fire prevention, and volunteer sustainability.
National Risk Reduction Manager Rob Saunders says the tractor "signals the commitment of Fire and Emergency to home, building, and vegetation fire risk reduction in rural areas." A tool to help engage with the community in a fun and unique way, Kahu has been traveling the country to appear at numerous community events.
Kahu was unveiled at the National Fieldays® in June 2018, at the NZ Fire and Emergency site. Positioned to catch the attention of foot traffic at the front of the stand, the Fire Tractor received a great response from the general public. Popular with children and adults alike, many were impressed to learn that the tractor did not respond to fires, but instead was a promotional resource to connect with rural residents.
Fire and Emergency discussed topics which are unique to rural areas, an example being, can fire trucks access your property and water supply easily? Machinery maintenance was also a talking point, with a burnt-out tractor on site serving a reminder of what failure to inspect for hazards like birds' nests could result in. Kahu's first event was a success, with the tractor proving to be a major draw card in getting visitors to the site, as well as providing a photo opportunity for many excited children.
Kahu attended numerous events throughout the year including the Poverty Bay A&P show in Gisborne and a special visit to Omokoroa School where it was used to help educate children about fire safety. The Fire Tractor's final event before the new year was in Turangi, for the annual Christmas parade on December 15th. Kahu was a big attraction, creating an enthusiastic crowd who were again interested to learn of the tractors educational purpose.