For several months the Auckland Local have been pushing FENZ management to reinstate the response of aerial appliances to first alarm incidents in New Zealand’s largest metropolitan CBD.

This morning at 04:36 the Auckland City fire appliance responded to a building fire at 51 New North Road.

Unfortunately no aerial appliances were on the first alarm turnout to this fire, with the first aerial from City station arriving some 6 minutes after the arrival of the first appliance and the second after 10 minutes. Upon the aerial appliance arrival crews were confronted with members of the public jumping from upper floor balconies.

Additionally, when the Parnell aerial arrived their set up was hampered and delayed due to access issues that required the movement of hose that had been run out to fight the fire. This is a well known hazard resulting from a delayed response of aerial appliances to fires.

The Auckland Local has written to FENZ management multiple times asking for the immediate reinstating of aerial appliances to first alarm incident in Auckland’s CBD, highlighting the very events of this mornings fire as examples.

We have once again written to Management requesting the immediate reinstatement of an aerial appliance to ALL first alarms in the Auckland City, Parnell, and Grey Lynn first response areas.

The Local has advised that we are happy to consult with out delay to establish a risk based criteria for the appropriate  response level for all buildings on a case by case basis.

It is the Locals opinion the current adhoc aerial response system fails on multiple occasions every month, including this morning, which due to the 6 minute delay in responding the closest aerial appliance, has forced people to jump from the buildings balcony’s to self rescue. 

We find the current aerial response policy to be totally unreliable and is putting the public and firefighters at risk.

This is totally unacceptable, and reinstating the previous response levels for the above listed response zones and then altering turnouts on a case by case risk based approach in conjunction with the union using the building information collected over the past two months is the only safe and practical solution.

Whilst Auckland union members don’t enjoy the constant negative publicity in the media caused by the state of our aerial fleet and the constant failure of the response system that has been implemented, early this morning firefighters had to watch several members of the public jump from their burning building because of the delay in sending the closest Aerial appliance stationed 1.3km away.

This is not the service the people of Auckland deserve from a professional Fire Emergency Service.

The Local again reminds officers that if they are responded to an incident where in their opinion an aerial appliance could be of benefit for any reason, a priority message is transmitted asking for one to be responded to the incident.

We will update members on the outcome of discussions with FENZ Management on this critical health and safety issue.

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