Jeff McCulloch, the President of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union, said today "The Fire Service has decided to reduce the response to the highest risk buildings in Auckland CBD, from the present 4 pumps and 2 aerial ladders, to just 2 fire engines. The result of this will be a greatly delayed fire attack, should this be needed, and in the event of a sprinkler system operation, a considerably greater amount of water damage, resulting in increased financial loss for the premises concerned."

He said "It seems bizarre to us, that the fire service should classify a building as high risk and require that a sprinkler system be fitted, and then when it operates, we assume because of a fire, they reduce the response to that very building."

"One of the main things that occupiers should be aware of, is the greatly increased time they will spend out of their building should the fire alarm or sprinkler system operate, as at present the building is searched by up to 16 firefighters. After the reductions take place on the 17th of July, the number available to search will drop to 3, as we have to retain staff outside the building for safety reasons should anything go wrong, and our staff require rescuing" McCulloch said.

"We would urge building occupiers and owners to object to these reductions by phoning the Regional Manager, Brian Butt, or the National Commander Mike Hall, and expressing their disgust at these unnecessary cuts to the high standard of service which has been provided to Auckland businesses for the last 40 years, after all, they are paying for it through their insurance levies."

Members of the public can phone Brian Butt on (09) 302-5131 or (027) 440-0991 or Mike Hall on (04) 496-3640 or (021) 356-078.

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