Auckland Local COVID-19 Update #8 Move to Alert Level 2

As staff will know the Prime Minister has announced a move from tomorrow to COVID-19 Alert Level 2, and as a result, we will begin a controlled transition to “Business as Usual”. 

From Thursday morning, all overtime restrictions will be removed, station “Bubbles” disestablished, and staff shall be free to move between stations to cover overtime shifts.

Roster departments will immediately begin the process of re-balancing any overtime allocation discrepancies that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions have caused. The NZPFU Local shall work with Roster departments to ensure that this is done in a fair and equitable manner that is transparent to all staff.

The Roster departments will also be working closely with personnel that had been moved, with the expectation that they are returned to their pre-COVID placements, whilst ensuring that all CEA obligations are met.

This may take several days to finalise as staff numbers returning to work are clarified, therefore we will aim to return staff to their usual stations beginning Friday 22nd May, which is a Green watch first day, and also the beginning of Leave 1.

The following is the latest FENZ COVID-19 Service Delivery Preventative Protective Protocols and guidelines:

  • For all those classified as “vulnerable” for Level 3 and 4, and they wish to stay off work for underlying health conditions, please get an updated medical certificate from their doctor stating they should remain off work due to the underlying medical conditions.  Staff do not need to disclose what those conditions are. FENZ will reimburse staff for any cost incurred in getting this certificate.   

  • For those that want to return to work they should be able to. If confirmation of their safety to return to work is needed, staff should get an updated medical certificate from their doctor stating they are able to return to work under Level 2. FENZ will reimburse staff for any cost incurred in getting this certificate.

  • Over 70’s can return to normal duties. All safety measures must be taken to minimise their exposure to known or suspected COVID-19 cases. A pragmatic approach shall be taken and can be dealt with on a case by case basis.  For example for 70 + year old professional career firefighters, those arrangements may be that they remain on the appliance if dispatched to a COVID-19 suspected medical call.

  • Region, Area and District staff may return to working in their normal offices, provided a plan is in place in line with our SDPPP 1.1 and they are isolated from operational crews. Note that this is the only section of the SDPPP that takes place from Monday 18th, all else is applicable from Thursday 14th, as is practicable. ie some protocols will require a considered approach.

  • Volunteers can be on stations for emergency incidents, training and appliance recommissioning, but will be in groups no larger than 10. Areas with composite brigades and yellow watches will need to work with local leaders and stakeholders to develop guidelines for these locations, on a station by station basis. 

  • FAIP, fire permitting, fire hazard removals and fire investigations can take place with safety measures.

  • The PPE requirements for known or suspected COVID-19 cases have not changed.

These protocols are all subject to further advice from the Government and FENZ, and are subject to change at any time.

With the transition to Level 2, the risks to operational staff are now increasing, so it is paramount that strict hygiene cleaning is to be carried out at all times, including at the beginning of shifts and social distancing to be maintained wherever possible.

We have the capability to act quickly and to respond to situations that present themselves, including the option of moving back up to Level 3 and 4 restrictions if required.

For the purpose of contact tracing, the controlled changing of shifts (4 on / 4 off) is strongly encouraged, though it is acknowledged that this shall not always be possible if waiting for staff to arrive from on other station.

Management and the NZPFU Local Executive shall continue to meet on a regular basis, assessing and adapting the protocols as needs present themselves.

If any staff have any queries on the above advice, please contact your Manager or one of your NZPFU Local representatives.

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