Australasia’s first Fire Station, Fire Engineering Facility on a university campus

06 May 2021

In a first for Australasia, two of Fire and Emergency New Zealand’s newest facilities are located on a University campus, in Christchurch.

  • FENZ Ilam opening

    UC Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey and FENZ Board Chair Paul Swain officially opened the new Ilam Fire Station and the Ilam Fire Engineering Facility last week.

The new Ilam Fire Station and the Ilam Fire Engineering Facility were officially opened last week in a unique partnership, which Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti says reflects the 27-year relationship between Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) and the University of Canterbury (UC).

The dual-purpose facility was made possible by the University of Canterbury making land available on the edge of its Ilam campus, beside the UC Engineering precinct.

From its central location on the corner of Creyke Road and Engineering Road, the Ilam brigade is positioned to serve Christchurch’s western suburbs as well as the University community. The 16 career firefighters now based at Ilam were previously at the Harewood Fire Station.

The innovative Ilam Fire Engineering Facility will be a centre of excellence, where FENZ’s fire engineers and the University’s unique Fire Engineering programme will share resources and collaborate on teaching and research. UC is the only university in New Zealand to offer qualifications in Fire Engineering, including specialist fire laboratories. Many of FENZ’s current fire engineers studied Fire Engineering at the University of Canterbury’s College of Engineering.

UC’s Director of Studies for Fire Engineering, Associate Professor Dr Anthony Abu, is the FENZ senior lecturer in Structural Fire Engineering.

“The University of Canterbury is the only university in New Zealand to offer qualifications in Fire Engineering. Our deepened relationship with Fire and Emergency will further increase the industry relevance of the UC fire engineering qualification. Closer collaboration with Fire and Emergency New Zealand will help us share and expand knowledge,” Associate Professor Abu says.

“Their presence on campus will encourage more students to choose FENZ as a career path. We also believe that in the long-term UC will be able to assist FENZ with data on their delivery of a fire-safe Aotearoa New Zealand as well as provide training and management courses for their firefighters and senior staff.”

FENZ Board Chair Paul Swain says the organisation provides scholarships and employment opportunities for UC students. They will gain the additional benefit of studying in a practical fire engineering environment with opportunities for mentoring and engagement with FENZ.

“The new fire engineering facility will be a centre of excellence, where Fire and Emergency’s own fire engineers and the university’s fire engineering programme will share resources and collaborate on research and development,” he says.

Together UC Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey and Swain officially opened the Fire Engineering Facility on Friday 30 April.

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