The Local brings to members’ attention the situation where a duty watch may be over MSM with an additional Firefighter.

There is to be no riding of a fifth-man under any circumstances, either as an operational Firefighter or as part of return to work duties.

In such a case, there is to be only four Firefighters, (Officer plus three), on a standard pumping appliance. This is in accordance with the direction of Assistant National Commander Paul McGill and agreed to by the National Committee of the Union.

The employer is dead-set against supplying the PPE required for fifth manning to occur. There is a fear that this would then have to be the case for any appliances equipped with four BA sets, as stated in the communication below from Paul McGill to the NZPFU.

“Managing occasions when on duty staff numbers exceed usual staffing levels (i.e., five persons on duty, rather than four).

From time to time, operational on-duty staff numbers may exceed the normal staffing levels.
This can result when on-duty relieving staff numbers exceed the number of available vacancies for them to fill.

This in turn could result in five persons being on duty at a station, rather than the usual four.
In such situations the NZFS and the NZPFU agree that the usual four-person pump crew should be retained, rather than crewing with five.
Therefore, the fifth person should be assigned to other meaningful duties.

It should be noted that the NZPFU and NZFS have differing views on whether a fifth BA set must be provided should a five-person crew be mobilised.
The parties agree that they don’t wish to dispute this matter, as it can be avoided by staying with the usual four-person crewing arrangements.

For the record, the respective positions on this matter are:

NZPFU Position
The NZPFU believes that BA is an essential part of PPE and therefore every crew member should have a BA set supplied for their safety. Therefore, they believe that the number of BA sets on a pumping appliance should match the number of crew members; e.g. five crew members on a pump require five BA sets.

NZFS Position
The NZFS does not believe there is a safety risk if there are four BA sets carried on a pump with a five-person crew.NZFS procedures require our people to wear BA when carrying out operations that may expose them to toxic substances, dust, fumes, smoke and irrespirable atmospheres.However, BA must be started up in clear air, so it's the availability of BA sets on the incident ground that matters. Furthermore, only people with BA will be committed. People without BA must stay clear of the hazard.This position is consistent with the assignment of four BA sets to volunteer pumps that are designed to carry six crew members.It is also consistent with brigades in the UK where five people crewing is standard and only four BA sets are carried.”

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