Comcen Actions

Members will by now be aware of the circumstance surrounding the house fires in Raumati South, which destroyed the dwelling of Thorndon Firefighter Stephen Hudson and his family.

The Union now refers to the “111 Response Accurate” release on Firenet in the name of Ian Pickard, presumably still there as a taunt to Union members and Stephen.

It is important for members to be aware that the Union has no specific concerns with the actions of the Comcen or the Paraparaumu Volunteers in what were very trying circumstances for all concerned.

The Union has now received the terms of reference for the National Commanders inquiry which it considers to be a red herring focusing on the Comcen when the real question that needs to be asked is why, 6 months after requesting personnel resourcing assistance, the Paraparaumu Brigade continues to rely on volunteers.

As the Service lurches into siege mode, management are attempting to defend the indefensible and they certainly don’t intend to let logic get in the way.

In an attempt to extract and distance himself from responsibility for the statements, Ian Pickard has since indicated to the Union that the Director for Media Communications Debbie Barber wrote the article and he just lent his name to the release.

The Union will be expecting some sort of retraction and back down from Debbie Barber and / or Ian Pickard once the investigation into the Comcen has been completed.

The Union wonders if there will be a full investigation by Fire Service management into this incident, one which investigates the action and inaction of management in providing the Kapiti Coast with the Paid staff the Levy paying public is paying for and that the Paraparaumu Volunteers have asked for.

Regional Manager Comments

Extraordinary statements not heard since the 90’s are even being heard from Regional Commander Butzbach.

It seems, despite frequent advertising by the Service on how quickly fire spreads and the need for the public to act quickly that is not an expectation for firefighters.

Commander Butzbach suggests that given the fire was so well advanced there is little more that could be done and time of response was not a factor.

It seems it has now become acceptable if the neighboring property is destroyed also. With logic like this the Union wonders why Commander Butzbach has not ordered the removal of sirens and lights and demanded appliances respond normal road speed.

The Union wonders if he would be so dismissive if his house had been the second to burn as an exposure in an urban area.

The only problem for them now is that comments like Commander Butzbach’s are, in this decade, in conflict with the services fire safety message and confusing for public and firefighters alike.

What is the message for your Firefighters Commander Butzbach? Shall we bust a gut to get to these incidents? Or, if the property is well involved in fire throw the arms in the air and make a token attempt perhaps stopping it on the next street corner.

It is clear to the Union (and to any self respecting Firefighter) that a quicker response most certainly would have made a difference and no amount of posturing and drivel from the Regional Commander and inept, inaccurate and duck shoving reporting will change that.

The Union also notes the deceptive closing comments in the Dominion Post, where Commander Butzbach assures the public that 4 firefighters are being deployed to meet the urgent need on the Kapiti Coast.

Remember to make your call (even from 50kms) between 8 and 5.30 Monday to Friday if you want to see a difference. The other 75% of the week remains unchanged.

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