Health and Safety Notice issued to FENZ to require comprehensive training for medical response

Professional career Firefighters are currently responded to “purple” emergency medical response calls. Firefighters exposures to trauma cause harm even when trained and competent to assist at the incident. Being expected to respond without the requisite training and equipment puts Firefighters at unnecessary and increased risk.

FENZ and St John have recently agreed to an amended Memorandum of Understanding which provides for circumstances where Firefighters can be responded to medical response incidents where St John perceive Firefighters can “add value” in calls other than “purple” calls. Even prior to this development, Firefighters were reporting increasing incidences of being deployed to calls that were not purple calls, and being inadequately trained or equipped to assist the patient.

To protect Firefighters wellbeing and health and safety, today FENZ was issued a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) requiring Firefighters only be responded to purple calls in accordance with their training.

  • The PIN is calling for a comprehensive training programme to be implemented prior to the widening of response to calls other than purple calls, including First Responder training and the Pre Hospital Emergency Care (PHEC) qualification, and the implementation of a process to enable Firefighters to be able to query the nature of the “value” the response of the Firefighters may add.
  • Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 FENZ has a primary duty of care to provide training necessary to protect Firefighters from risk, as far as is reasonably practicable. Requesting Firefighters to respond to emergency medical response calls with the appropriate training would be in breach of that duty.
  • Importantly, the PIN seeks to ensure additional psychological support mechanisms co-designed with the NZPFU are implemented to provide the necessary greater support.

Members are advised emergency medical response to purple calls must continue and are not part of this PIN and process.

If members are being responded to calls other than “purple” calls please record that incident in the Safe at Work application as a near miss and notify your Local. If you have any queries about the PIN please contact NZPFU National Vice President Joseph Stanley on 027 659 9965.

There are compliance and time requirements with PINs. If the matter is not resolved, Worksafe can be requested to assist.

We will advise Firefighters and Comms Centre Dispatchers of any updates or information.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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