FENZ has written to NZPFU acknowledging the contributions our members and representatives made to the Covid-19 response to date. National Commander Kerry Gregory specifically recognises the work of Wellington Local Secretary Alan Collett, Medical Response SME Justin Murtha and Hawkes Bay Local Vice President Warwick Le Quesne for their work with the FENZ Service Delivery Coordination Centre. His letter is attached.
The NZPFU recognises and appreciates Alan, Justin and Warwick for their outstanding commitment to the safety of our members and the community. They spent countless hours and made huge personal sacrifices to use their knowledge and experience developing procedures and plans that were instrumental in the success of FENZ’s response. They were available 24/7 for weeks and ensured the NZPFU Counsel will fully informed and involved in critical decision-making.
We are proud and grateful for the work of all our representatives and members.
Our network of representatives across the country, particularly our National Committee and Local representatives demonstrated incredible foresight and organisational skills to be able to meet the challenges of maintaining safe response during a national lockdown. Had the Locals not taken the initiative the outcome for our members could have been very different. There are a number who worked extraordinary hours looking after individual cases while ensuring FENZ’s planning and response measures were on track. Fortunately to date we have not had to exercise the extent of the planning, but the work done will stand New Zealand in good stead should we experience a second wave of this pandemic or a similar situation in the future.
From mid-March until mid-May 2020 the National Committee met every day by telephone conference and every three days a national teleconference was held with all Local representations and key personnel. That communication programme ensured our representatives throughout the country were some of the most informed and prepared personnel in FENZ. It also meant our representatives on Regional and National Covid-19 committees were fully armed with practical and sustainable responses to key issues. The representatives on those teleconferences will recall the valued involvement of Alan, Justin and Warwick. The coordination of their work with our representatives and the issues at the station/workplace level alleviated unnecessary stress that would have resulted from the information void. Our coordination ensured necessary changes to procedures, hygiene regimes and station-life were implemented with little lead-in time and without confusion.
Our members never wavered in their commitment to the community despite the pressures of vulnerable family members with varying health concerns, and the added economic pressures resulting from the crew bubble system. Firefighters and communications centre operators were essential working that kept turning up to work regardless of the rising Covid-19 cases or fears in the community. Due to the diligence of our union representatives our members knew the PPE they were donning met the required Standards and new response protocols were in place to minimise the risks. Other members were able to primarily work from home in between station visits and supporting crews during the National lockdown. Everyone pulled together and New Zealand is a safer place in part because of those efforts. The pandemic is not over and our members continue to respond to known Government Covid-29 isolation and quarantine locations.
We are hugely proud and hugely humbled by the breadth of knowledge, skills and depth of commitment of our membership.