Firefighters must be able to rely on safe systems of work to protect them while they protect the community. To walk into fire, the firefighter must be able to trust there are enough properly trained and experienced firefighters supporting them, that their uniform, hoses and breathing apparatus will protect them.
In recent times, firefighters have not had that confidence. Firefighters have been caught inside a burning building without water because a pump on the truck failed or a hose burst. These failures not only put the firefighter in immediate increased risk, but it impacts on the firefighters’ ability to rescue or the tactics they can use to control the fire.
Dangerous staffing levels
FENZ does not employ sufficient career firefighters to maintain minimum crew levels. The level of career firefighters across New Zealand has barely changed since the 1990s.
Career fire stations have been closing and fire trucks left idle when there are insufficient career firefighters.
Fire trucks and specialist appliances in crisis
Fire trucks and specialist aerial appliances are failing putting the lives of firefighters and the community at unnecessary risk.
In 2019 systemic cracks and defects were found on almost all of the newest fire trucks.
FENZ insures admin staff but refuses to insure firefighters
FENZ management, HQ and administration staff are automatically covered by FENZ’s income protection scheme but FENZ refuses to provide an income protect insurance allowance to firefighters.
Yes! You read that correctly.
Some career firefighters are the lowest paid employees in FENZ. Recruits and the first level of firefighter are on the lowest wage band across all of FENZ’s roles.
Currently, the rank of firefighter is barely scraping in the minimum wage and is not being paid the NZ living wage.
FENZ “ad hoc” approach to psychological wellbeing
St John Ambulance recently reported FENZ firefighters co-responded to 96 percent of all of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.
FENZ has refused to include baseline care in the firefighters’ collective agreement and is also refusing to commit to ongoing access to psychologists for those needing support from trained and qualified practitioners.
FENZ refuses to acknowledge Firefighters’ occupational cancer
It is internationally accepted that firefighters contract specific cancers due to exposures to carcinogens when firefighting. FENZ is refusing to acknowledge this increased risk of cancer and incidence of cancer in the firefighters’ employment agreement.
Disrespect in different safety standards
FENZ has different standards for staff working in FENZ HQ compared to its standards for those working from fire stations.