Mike Balmer and Denis Fitzmaurice met with the Safety and Welfare Team tasked with looking after members and their families during this tragic and traumatic time for Christchurch. Those members encompass Firefighters and their Families, USAR members and Families and Firefighters from around the country.

The Team consists of:

Jim Ryburn (Welfare and NZPFU)
Trevor Brown (Safety & Wellbeing Manager)
Julian Hughes (National Health & Safety Advisor)
Darryn Percy (Welfare and Trauma)
Kevin Crozier (Welfare Society rep Region 5)
Roger McLeod (Health & Safety Transalpine)
Greg Crawford (Acting Christchurch metropolitan Area Manager)
Brendan Nally (Operations Commander)

After the discussions Mike and I were left in no doubt as to the empathy and dedication of this group to looking after our member’s welfare.

Accordingly, we want to bring the following points to your attention:

Daily Briefings

Daily briefings will now be held at City Station every morning on day shifts @ 0830 hours. These will be used to update members on operational matters and particularly to keep members informed of Welfare issues. We would expect that a member of the Safety and Wellbeing Committee be present at these briefings to answer member questions and discuss health issues as they apply to this incident.

The Union encourages members to attend these daily briefings, and to inform their Officer that they wish to do so. Operations Commander Nally stated he would allow time for crews to attend unless an incident is of a critical nature.

UFBA Benevolent Fund Application for Assistance (ChCh Quake)

The benevolent fund is administered by Trustees who are independent of the UFBA, for instance Darryn Percy. If you need assistance e.g.; airfares paid to get your family out of Christchurch then use the form to apply for a grant reimbursement.

The forms will be available at the daily briefings and with Welfare members as they travel around Christchurch tracking down staff on Fire appliances (note: anyone in a Welfare jerkin is a D1 staff member).

Please avail yourself of this fund, fill in the form and money will be Direct credited to your bank account.

Contacting Safety & Wellbeing

Phone number: 371 3647 (if this changes members will be advised)

To streamline matters please, at the request of the Welfare Team, go through your Officer particularly the City Station SSO’s when making an approach. However, if you are not comfortable with that approach please do not hesitate to contact the Team direct (371 3647)

Damaged Houses

40 to 45% of Firefighters houses have been severely affected by last week’s quake, the damage ranges from moderate to total destruction.

Now is not the time to be stoic, and try to handle this situation on your own.

Please let Kevin Crozier know (371 3647) the extent of the damage, as he is compiling a database, so that help can be best directed to members who need it.

Clean‐up Crews

Many firefighters inside and outside Christchurch have expressed a willingness to be involved (on their days off) in helping badly affected members clean up their properties, whether that be silt removal, shoring up homes or moving out.

The Local Committee is looking for names to organize a roster to achieve this. Please contact your shift representative and go on the Roster. The Local is also in the process of contacting other Locals to enable them to assist. If you have accommodation available for helpers from out of town please make this known to your shift representative as well.

City Station Accommodation (Yellow Sticker)

On duty crews at City Station are to use East Block which is being converted to accommodation and office space.

Management is aware of the importance of City Station to the psyche of the Christchurch Fire Brigade, and will leave no option unexplored to allow us to continue operations from Kilmore Street.

The yard and environs of Woolston Station will be cleaned up as soon as possible.

In conclusion

Welfare broken down:

  • Be your own Peer support
  • Officers support their crews, crews support their Officers
  • Trauma feelings are normal in this situation
  • Managers have been given guidelines to manage time off for staff personally affected by the Christchurch earthquake. The Union would like to hear immediately of any manager or situation where any lack of empathy is demonstrated
  • If your kids are having problems dealing with events, there are excellent materials on the following two websites to help you deal with this: Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health website.

The Union fully supports the Safety & Wellbeing team and encourages members to utilize their services and expertise.

Please feel free to contact Denis or Mike should you wish to discuss any of these matters.

Denis Fitzmaurice
Southern Branch President
Ph: 027 228 7682
Mike Balmer
Christchurch Local Secretary
Ph: 021 140 4930

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