FENZ gas detectors are failing and FENZ is scrambling to distribute replacement detectors as an interim measure pending a process to agree to new personal gas detectors scheduled for later this year.

The NZPFU has been urging FENZ to issue a safety notice and notify firefighters of the perils of the current gas detectors. To date that has not occurred.

As of today (31 March) there is a real risk the Impact Pro gas detectors currently in use will fail so the bump test is a critical safety measure.

Earlier this month FENZ notified the NZPFU that the current Impact Pro gas detectors were all due for 6-month recalibration and annual servicing on 31 March but due to the rate of detectors failing, there was serious concern few would pass that servicing.    

FENZ has an “interim” solution which is the distribution of new Multi Rae Lite gas detectors with the first shipment due this week.  A further shipment was being sourced.

This means that until the new gas detectors are distributed, and firefighters are trained in their use, stations will be using the aging Impact Pro gas detectors.

FENZ has notified the NZPFU of the following

  • The recalibration and servicing will not be carried out on the Impact Pros as they are to be replaced by new Multi-Rae Lite Gas detectors.
  • As long as the Impact Pros units are receiving their scheduled Bump Test Calibration (Rescue Tenders monthly and HazMat Commands weekly) and they do not fail on start-up, that they are safe to use.  If they fail another gas detector will need to be sourced.  Please contact your Local to discuss with Management how your safety will be managed in those circumstances.

FENZ will shortly announce the timeframes for the roll-out of the Multi Rae Lite gas detectors and the training programme.  The new Multi Rae Lite gas detectors should start arriving in stations over the next couple of weeks.  However, there will be some South Island stations that will be waiting for the second shipment.

FENZ states Hazmat and Region Trainers have been tasked with ensuring training can occur for the busiest PRT’s and all Hazmat Command Stations. This will cover all career firefighters as well as several volunteer stations.   It is the NZPFU position that the training on the new gas detectors must take place in person.  We do not accept it is appropriate to be trained in gas detectors by an online process.   Should there be a Covid-19 event during this period the NZPFU and FENZ will discuss the appropriate measures.

This safety issue is another example of FENZ failing to implement a replacement plan for gas detectors that corresponded with the expected decay and demise of the current gas detectors.

FENZ is having to scramble to have sufficient capability of this significant safety equipment, and lease new gas detectors while a gas detection project is ongoing.   Tenders for that project will be evaluated over the next six weeks with a proposed timeframe of rolling out new Personal Gas Detectors to the busiest 115 locations later this year.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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