Boarding/ Halfway Houses

The Auckland Local was recently advised by Regional Management that there had been between 70 and 80 Halfway/Boarding houses identified in the Auckland Area that had only a 2 pump response. These are only the ones that have been identified so far. All members know that there are many more which have not yet been identified.

The Auckland Regional Manager has advised us that he wishes to ensure that premises such as these receive at least a 3 pump attendance, depending on the numbers of residents. There have been no formal talks between the Local and Regional Management about the level of response that should be provided, but these are planned for the near future.

Members are requested that where premises such as these are identified by the 405 process, or any other means, the District Chief Fire Officer should be immediately advised and requested to immediately increase the response to the level indicated below, and Fire Safety should be notified as a 408/ 409 may be required.

It has been suggested that premises with up to 5–7 residents should receive a 3 pump response and those with more should receive a greater response, plus specialist appliances such as aerials.

The Local believes this concern has been highlighted by the recent multiple calls, persons reported, Second Alarm, to a boarding house in New North Road where there were 16 residents and the building PDA gave a response of only 2 pumps.

Section 66 Appointments

The Local has received a request from Auckland Regional Management to support the reintroduction of Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officers under Section 66 of the Fire Service Act. It is proposed to meet with Regional Management in the near future to discuss this request. The Local’s view is that Section 66 appointments are designed to cover fixed term vacancies, not open ended ones such as they have been used for in the past.

The Local is opposed to this idea as the conditions that have seen the short crewing and decommissioning of appliances, particularly at weekends and during school holidays, are still continuing and Management is attempting to place the blame for this on Auckland Local members being reluctant to work overtime. The Local believes the problem has a number of causes and these have been discussed at a recent meeting with ARFM Binning. They appear to be:

  1. The mismanagement by the NZFS of staffing levels. The manning ratio has remained at 4.5 to 1 since it’s inception in the early 1970’s. Since that time there have been a number of increases in allowances for additional time off for members, and a corresponding increase in the number of training courses, both voluntary and compulsory.
  2. The constant scheduling of training courses back to back, which effectively doubles the number of members required to be off duty at the weekend.
  3. The scheduling of non urgent training courses during the school holidays. This effect has been compounded by the large number of younger new members who have school age families, and require time off at those times.
  4. The use of staff who have specialist appliance qualifications for Volunteer courses during weekends, thus leaving districts short of specialist appliance qualified staff.
  5. The introduction of Type 4 appliances to replace pumps, which further exacerbates the situation by reducing the number of staff who can actually do the required overtime.
  6. The ridiculously slavish adherence to the hours of work policy, which restricts perfectly capable people from carrying out additional shifts because of some fear of fatigue.
  7. The reluctance of some members to actually work additional shifts, in spite of repeated requests from the Auckland Local Committee to maintain MSM.
  8. Management not allowing members who are on annual leave to return to duty for overtime shifts due to some sort of perceived double dipping.

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