Members will remember our Notice last week advising of our grave concerns around FENZ’s planning around the America’s Cup sporting regatta.

We wrote to Regional Manager Devlin outlying our concerns around inadequate training and poor response and a lack of planning for the cup, but unfortunately these concerns appear to have been ignored.

In his reply to the Union Mr Devlin states that “As a part of these arrangements, it was determined that Fire and Emergency activities will be land based and based on an enhanced Business as Usual approach.”

In complete contrast to the above statement, he then goes on to say, “Planning for the event involved Developing SOPs or protocols with Police for an on-water response and venue access.”

This sort of conflicted answer is the exact reason that the Union has grave concerns about the planning, training and response capabilities that FENZ has for this major sporting event. 

FENZ has had months, if not years, to plan for, train staff and implement the proper protocols, procedures and training standards for this event, yet it has failed. 

A major part of the Fire Emergency Act mandates FENZ Regional and Area Management to adequately plan, a section of which is below:

21 Local planning

(1) FENZ must undertake, for each local area, local planning:

(a) that takes into account—
  1. the national strategy; and
  2. the designated services required within the local area
(b) that identifies—
  1. specific needs, resources, constraints, and capabilities in the local area that are relevant  to FENZ’s functions; and
  2. local activities that address those needs

Given that FENZ has a secondary mandate to respond to and assist with rescues at maritime emergencies, it is bizarre that it was decided that the organisational response would be land based. 

The Union continues to have concerns around the standard of training given to firefighters for maritime responses. Our members can, and in fact already have, responded to maritime incidents during this regatta. At the moment it appears that our firefighters are operating on, “Kiwi Ingenuity” and winging it, with a massive dose of good luck thrown in, instead of good training, planning, policies and procedures.   

We have written to FENZ asking for a copy of the training programme, how the training relates to any expected incidents or hazards firefighters will be required to deal with, who carried out the training, the required standard to pass, and what are the safe systems of work that firefighters are expected to work to. 

The answers we receive to these questions may formulate any future advice we give members.

If members that are assigned to staff the Maritime Response Vehicle have any concerns about the current standard of training that they have received, they should immediately advise their Officer in Charge.  Officers should then advise Area Management of the details of said concerns and also advise the Local Executive.

Once again, we will continue to keep members advised of this ongoing situation. 

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