Hazmat/Command Vehicles

The Auckland Local Committee was delighted to read that the contract for these ill conceived vehicles had been cancelled, but was then mortified to see that the Fire Service’s intention was to recall for tenders for these vehicles.

We had thought for a moment that this stupid idea had been seen for what it is, a very expensive mistake, but unfortunately this is not the case and the NZFS is continuing to proceed down this ill chosen path.

It is probably pertinent, before we have the fight over these vehicles, to remind some members and advise others why the Auckland Hazmat is in existence.

This vehicle was introduced after the disastrous fire at ICI in Mt. Wellington in 1984, when approximately 150 Auckland firefighters and officers developed illnesses due to the effects of the toxic smoke and runoff from this large fire. The decontamination of our members was haphazard to say the least, and some of the injuries to our members resulted from this process.

During the many enquiries and investigations that followed, it was decided to introduce a dedicated decontamination vehicle for use by firefighters and officers. It was not designed to be used as a mass decontamination unit for the general public. It is only since 9-11 and the aftermath of that, that the unit has been seen as a decontamination unit for the general public.

If Fire Service Management are anticipating that we will let them remove our dedicated Hazmat vehicle and substitute it with neither a Hazmat nor ICU vehicle, which will be detrimental to the safety of our members, without a fight, then they had better think again. 
If the 2 proposed Hazmat/ICU vehicles were to be introduced to supplement the dedicated vehicles, then the Auckland Local would welcome them with open arms, (provided the manning of them was also addressed) but if they are intended to replace those vehicles, which we believe is presently the case, then we are implacably opposed to their introduction and will fight tooth and nail to prevent this occurring.

Combination Vehicles and Type 5’s.

The Auckland Local is in possession of information that the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, where the idea of combined Hazmat Command vehicles came from, is moving away from combination vehicles to dedicated single use vehicles as the combined vehicles have been less than successful.

We are also advised that they are moving away from 2 man crew Bronto’s, to 4 man crew appliances, as they are finding it very difficult when at incidents, to supply water to the vehicles as usually all crews at an incident are too involved in that incident to assist the 2 man crew. This situation is already occurring in Auckland with the Type 5 Bronto we have at Parnell Station.

Officers in charge of this appliance, if they consider that water supply may be a problem, should immediately request an additional dedicated pump be sent to assist with water at the incident and not rely on finding someone who knows anything about the vehicle to assist when required.

Vehicle colour schemes.

The Auckland Local is disappointed that the National Commander has seen fit to ignore the stated views of his career staff, on the proposal to paint fire appliances in the “corporate colours”. We were under the impression that the NZFS was a service, not a corporation with all the connotations of profit making.

The members in Auckland expressed their obvious dislike of the proposed blue and red colour scheme but, as with the new “upgraded” LMR’s, their views were completely ignored. It seems to the Local Committee that if an opinion is sought and given, then the result of that opinion should be seriously considered. We have grave concerns that the new “corporate” colour scheme will be dangerous to our members as dark blue and red are the worst colours of the spectrum for night visibility. We are dismayed that any senior manager could have so little concern for his staff that safety concerns are ignored and lives placed at risk just for the sake of the corporate image.

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