Seminar Managing Firefighter Exposure
A very informative and successful Seminar on Managing Firefighter Exposure was held on 27th June in Wellington. The Seminar, which focused on exposure to substances that are cancer causing was jointly hosted by the Union and the Fire Service.
The six speakers were:
1. Peter Marshall, Chair of the International Firefighters Union Global Alliance
Peter's presentation focused on a global presentation on the international evidence showing significantly increased Firefighter mortality rates due to cancer - and consequent steps that have been taken to mitigate an unavoidable risk, and presumptive legislation regarding compensation. (Legislation that changes the burden of proof that the cancer is caused by firefighting from the firefighter to the compensatory authority).
2. Dr. Michael Logan, Queensland Fire & Rescue Scientific Branch
Dr. Logan has done and is continuing to undertake extensive research on the exposure of Firefighters to by-products of fire.
3. Don Cranwell, Strategic Capability & Corporate Affairs with the South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service
Don presented on Fire Station Design looking at how station facilities can be designed and modified to reduce exposure to contaminants.
4. Ian Wright, Vice President of the Union
Presented an overview of Firefighter exposure and changes that should be considered to mitigate the exposure.
5. Peter Hallett, Hamilton Local Secretary
Provided an introduction to the subject and the actions to reduce or mitigate exposure that are needed.
The full seminar was videoed and it is expected that the resultant DVD will be available for station distribution some time shortly.
The 100 or so participants indicated the usefulness of the seminar in raising a very important issue in a constructive way.
The Union expects the Seminar will lead to considerable ongoing work with management in detailing Policy & Procedure and changes or modifications to Station Design.
It is also evident that a change in Firefighter behaviour will be needed, based on the evidence presented.
It is quite apparent that the only successful approach will require actions and responsibilities by both Management and the workforce through the Union, and the Seminar has proved to be a very successful starting point.
Following a trial process, which included an Ergonomic Assessment, the Union and the Fire Service have agreed on a modification of the Breathing Apparatus Seats to take the new Drager B.A. Sets.
To have consistency with the modifications, it has also been agreed that Fraser Fire will be the only manufacturer of the side bolsters and seats for this project.
All Appliances will be modified as and when the modified parts are available and distributed to Station Appliance service providers.
Changes To Union Rules - Ballots
As approved at the 2012 Union Conference, the following Rule Changes have been registered:
Rule A.16.2 - Delete existing Rule and replace with:
The Union Committee may direct that a Secret Ballot be held and in that case, a Free Post envelope will be provided to every eligible voter. The voter will be required to dispatch the completed voting paper to the Union office by means of post to reach the office before the closing time of the ballot.
Rule A.126.96.36.199 - Amend to read:
Fold your ballot paper and place in the ballot box provided.
Rule A.188.8.131.52 - Delete
Rule A.184.108.40.206 - Delete
Rule A.16.6.3 - Delete second sentence.
Rule A.16.8 - Delete the words "ballot box" and replace with "envelopes".
Rule A.16.11 - A.16.11.5 inclusive - Delete
Rule A.17.1 - Add
"The Union Secretary shall refer the matter to the Union Committee who shall receive the report. consider it, and decide on the appropriate course."