The Local has written to the Regional Manager outlining our grave concerns that Fire Emergency is relinquishing its main functions under the Fire and Emergency Act in favour of secondary responsibilities and has not adequately prepared or planned for the 2021 Prada Cup and the 36th Americas Cup Sporting Event.
Members should know that the Parnell and Remuera Station crews have been given only minimal training, some less than a day, on maritime response, water rescue, boat firefighting and salvage, portable pump operation, ship to ship transfer, and open water safety.
Astoundingly, simple checks and balances have not been made like checking if the crews at these stations can even swim.
The Local is deeply concerned that the standard of training provided to our members for this event is not adequate for the size of an event such as an international sporting regatta, with the minimal training that was provided only done in the fortnight leading up to the start of the Americas Cup Events.
Instead of FENZ providing a small pool of specially trained firefighters to staff the Marine Response Vehicle at Parnell during racing, FENZ will use the on-duty firefighters at Parnell and take the fire truck off the run to allow it to respond to marine incidents on Americas Cup race days.
By not providing an additional firefighting crew for the Marine Response Vehicle, FENZ has chosen to deny the public of Parnell and Orakei any Fire Emergency response capabilities during Americas Cup Racing.
Under the FENZ Act, Section 11 details the main functions of FENZ, where it must carry out the main functions specified in subsection (2), with one of those main functions being to provide fire prevention, response, and suppression services.
The additional functions of FENZ, Section 12, is also to assist in matters as provided for in subsection (3), to the extent that FENZ has the capability and capacity to do so, and one of those matters is responding to maritime incidents.
However, before performing any functions under Section 12, FENZ must ensure that it retains the capacity and capability to perform the functions specified in Section 11 efficiently and effectively.
The framers of the legislation were quite clear in that secondary functions can be considered providing the main functions are not neglected.
The Local believes that Fire Emergency is relinquishing its main functions under the Fire and Emergency Act.
Unfortunately, on Saturday 30 January, a house just 90 seconds from the Parnell Fire Station burned down whilst the on-duty Parnell crew sat staffing the Marine Response Vehicle for the Americas Cup Racing. By the time a decision was made to eventually respond the Parnell crew to the house fire, the Auckland City fire appliance was already arriving after a four minute delay.
It is also noted that with the response of Parnell and Remuera to the house fire, this then left the Marine Response Vehicle un-staffed and unavailable for the Americas Cup Racing.
By refusing to staff the Marine Response Vehicle with specialised trained firefighters in addition to the normal staffing at Parnell, we
believe that Fire and Emergency is putting money over that of the safety and well-being of firefighters and the public.
As such, we have written to the Regional Manager asking him to immediately approve funding to allow for additional specialised training of a pool of firefighters to staff the Marine Response Vehicle, of which four will ride during Americas Cup Racing.
This will then allow the Parnell fire appliance to remain available protecting the communities of Parnell, Newmarket, and Orakei.
Whilst the eyes of the sporting world are on us, the Local hopes that further fire losses can be prevented.
We will keep members advised of any change in the situation.