Protecting the community takes its toll on the NZPFU member but also impacts directly on their family and friends.

The fire crisis is affecting all the NZPFU members’ health, safety and wellbeing and that has a domino effect for their families and friends. Exhausted, struggling emotionally and mentally, and the impact having to work for an organisation that does not value or respect your work are not issues that are left on station or the workplace at the end of shift. Our members carry that impact on their health and wellbeing with them back home and into their personal lives.

The workplace stress impacts all of our members – firefighters, 111 emergency call centre dispatchers, community resilience and risk reduction staff, volunteer support officers, trainers and those working as welfare officers or in the health and safety section. Our members’ families are worried about their welfare, about their workloads and also about how they pay for the essentials with the low level of wages.

Firefighter families know the inherent dangers of the job include a high risk of physical and mental injury as well as a significantly increased risk of occupational cancer – they should not have to bear the burden of organisational stress, unsafe staffing levels, unreliable trucks and equipment as well.

Families and friends of NZPFU members can post their experiences here to assist the public understanding of the personal costs of the fire crisis.

Please click here to email your story or your message of support.

What it’s like being married to a Firefighter of 19 years

My husband and I met fifteen years ago and he is now a SSO with decades of experience behind him.
Here’s what it’s like to be married to a firefighter. Honestly. It’s hard.

From the wife of a firefighter

FENZ management have tried to gag those on the inside.
I have watched my husband who has given 39 years to FENZ, become tired and despondent.  He is working 7 out of his 8-day rotation (2 days, 2 nights, 4 days off).

Things need to change. Quickly

My husband has been a firefighter since the start of 2019. It was a dream of his to become a firefighter and I was so happy to support him in becoming one of the community’s ‘heroes’.  Quite honestly I had no idea how much life would change, more specifically my life, once he joined.

My husband is a firefighter

He works to keep the community safe and I’m proud of him… but some days, the only way the kids and I see him is to come into the station for half an hour at 5pm. He’s worked so many hours that at times I’ve thought he may break… but the red alerts, low staff and riding short messages keep coming.

Comments from a Firefighters Wife

Firefighting is a passion that few take on, but now thanks to FENZ it’s not just fighting fires that they do. It’s the medical calls that are taking a toll. They go to the highest priority calls, the worst of the worst and what has FENZ said? “They’re given Training and have access to Counselling/EAP Services”.

My husband is exhausted

I see the anguish on his face as another overtime text comes through saying, “if they don’t fill the seat, they will have to pull a truck off the run.”
He’s torn between being exhausted and not wanting to let his team or his community down, so he puts his hand up again.

Wife of Invercargill firefighter and cancer survivor shares her story

Brent was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer in April 2021, which was undoubtedly caused by years of exposure to toxins in his occupation. The cancer diagnosis caused countless moments of physical and emotional stress on Brent and I, and our kids.

I’m sure I have a husband

I’m sure I have a husband,
And my daughter has a dad,
But so rarely do we see him,
Sometimes I feel I’m going mad.

An insight into my life married to a firefighter for 20 years

This is a wee insight into the heartbreak I’ve had to endure as the wife of a firefighter.
It’s what you don’t see…

A letter to myself

I have done all this for sixteen years now. I did it because I believed in what I was doing and why we were doing it, I believed the sacrifices were worth it, I believed I had so much to give, now for the first time ever I’m not so sure…

Here’s my story

I have seen changes in a service that I once upon a time was proud to be part of. A service my husband continues to proudly serve to this day despite so many extra hours away from his home and family.

A Dispatchers Mental Health

I am not usually one to write or speak, but I will not be silenced or gagged by FENZ for speaking about my experience, my role and my mental health.

A Dispatcher’s Story

FENZ is so out of touch where mental health is concerned. I had to realise on my OWN that I was struggling, before I was able to get the help I needed.

We have their backs

Tomorrow, my husband and his colleagues will leave their fire stations while on duty and walk across the road for one hour. Can you even imagine how strongly they must believe in something to stand aside for one hour? When enough is enough.

My husband loves the job

He’s a wonderful Husband and Dad, and I see it hurt him that he can’t be here as much as he would like to be, because he will always take the overtime to provide for our family, which is a cycle because then ultimately he spends less time with our family and then is also more tired when he is around us.