Tauranga Local COVID-19 Update #1

Measures to keep ourselves and our families safe

If you have family members at home that are frail, sick, immune system compromised or elderly, be very conscious of not taking anything home that would adversely affect them. Be that as it may we all have to ensure that our personal hygiene practices are on point. Contact with infected surfaces or coughs/ sneezing is the main point of spread. Virus may live for up to three days on hard surfaces. Frequent washing of your hands with soap and water is the most effective way of preventing transmission.

In the course of our daily duties we are going to come into contact at some point with Covid-19. That is probably inevitable. The actions we take going forward can reduce the impact to ourselves, our families and the public we serve.

As a national union we have begun discussions and come up with some early steps to assist us in this.

  • Contact between the general public and Firefighters to be reduced wherever possible, i.e. No school visits to station, no outside meetings on station, no visitors to stations.
  • Overtime shifts to be restricted wherever possible to that stations staff. Maintaining MSS is still the end priority and this will only be where practicable.
  • If you are sick, STAY HOME.
  • We may still conduct smoke alarm installations for elderly or other at risk groups, a dynamic risk assessment must be conducted first and consider allowing a single staff member to enter premises. All other Home Fire Safety Checks and smoke alarm enquiries be directed to the FENZ website for advice in the first instance. 
  • Meetings with outside organizations to be risk assessed.
  • Ensure all contact with Covid-19, even possible contact, be logged in the “Safe At Work” site. This is paramount to ensure you are covered in the future.
  • Early access to Influenza vaccinations will help keep staff at work and prevent already sick personnel from contracting Covid-19, increasing likelihood of complications. 

If you think you have a genuine reason to be tested for exposure, let your manager know as soon as possible, so crew can be tested as well if necessary.

Our biggest risk is exposure at medical incidents. St Johns will pass on if a patient is registered of having had a risk of having Covid-19, however the chances of an unknown and unsymtomatic patient will increase with time. Officers conducting an appropriate dynamic risk assessment is paramount. Our risk of exposure while wearing appropriate PPE is very low but we must be vigilant.

We may be required to keep these precautions going for a considerable period of time. Please support each other and be mindful of others. This may in the near future greatly effect our ability to staff appliances, we need everyone to do their part in ensuring we are still available to respond to emergencies.

Finally, have a thought and make a plan with your family as to what would happen if you do come into contact with this virus and where you would “self isolate”. Sometimes home may not be the best place.

Keep safe and look out for one another.

Mike Swanson
Tauranga Local Secretary

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