The Union met with the Regional Management Team on Wednesday 20 October to further discuss the proposed deployment of the allocated Hazmat/Command vehicles for the Auckland Region.
Whilst the Union remained open to discussion on the subject and made several attempts to establish the basis and context for an operational trial of the first vehicle out of Auckland City Station, we were unable to gain an assurance from Management that should any trial prove unsuccessful, we would return to the status quo of the current arrangement with a dedicated Hazmat unit.
A number of options were put to Management as the Local tried to reach a constructive solution to evaluate the vehicles for Auckland's use. Unfortunately, Management seem adamant to force these vehicles upon us strictly on their terms.
Several valid points were raised regarding the perceived impracticalities of these vehicles, citing examples from their use in other large cities around the country. It was suggested by the Union that Management would get firefighter 'buy in' if they took part in a side by side demonstration of the set up and use of the Hazmat/Command next to the current Hazmat, which they seem unwilling to do; unusual considering these new vehicles are supposedly a great improvement.
The Decontamination corridors remain a contentious issue but one which, again, the Local showed a willingness to view and trial. However, even though the Hazmat/Command project has been running for around four years and the vehicles being built for three, there is still not one of these corridors operational or working, even to demonstrate!
Abundant evidence was also produced indicating standard practice throughout the world is not what these corridors provide for and that in most cases, firefighter decontamination is kept entirely separate from "mass decontamination", but Management seem unwilling to accept any documentation produced to prove this, even suggesting the Local are compromising firefighter safety by failing to introduce this new system. This seems interesting, considering the corridor system is unproven, and not one case of inadequate firefighter decontamination could be identified since the introduction of the current high flow showers, post ICI.
Also of concern was the failure of Management to confirm, after repeated questioning, whether Level 2 firefighting uniform had been part of the trials using the new decontamination corridor system.
The Auckland Local continues to work towards an amicable solution to the introduction of these vehicles and their equipment, with a commitment and willingness to take them on if it is proven they outperform our current vehicle and its deployment. All we seek is a trial with the right of return should the new vehicles not substantiate the claims made by Management.