Members will be well aware of the recent floods throughout the region last week. As a result of this, members’ PPE should be considered as contaminated with faecal matter. This includes level 2 bunker coats, overtrousers, gloves and gumboots.

Members may have seen an e-mail sent out by ARFC Kennedy regarding actions required to decontaminate equipment. While this e-mail is a start, it is somewhat short on details and decidedly late.

The Local has done some research in conjunction with the health nurse Kate Edmonds who in turn has consulted with the Wgtn hospital on the correct method of decontamination.

The Local advises affected members to wear gloves when handling their PPE, they need to bag and tag it in the normal fashion and label it with what it could be  contaminated with. Then send it on to be laundered.

Gumboots need to be decontaminated inside and out in a mixture of 1 part Bleach and 10 parts water. The boot is to be filled to the top and left for 10 minutes then flushed with cold water and then dried. The bottom liner should be removed and replaced and if not possible, treated in the same manner but separate from the boot itself.

Members are also advised that replacing level 2 gumboots with the paraflex / level 1 type boot is inappropriate as they do not meet the required standard for electrical insulation micro-organism and chemical resistance.

It is sad that it took urging from the Local to notify members of this possible contamination for management to kick into action. There is a distinct lack of urgency and foresight in instances like this and the Local will be looking to approach management to put in place an official process that outlines the hazards involved and any and all remedial actions required to keep members safe from infection.

The Local feels that it is unsatisfactory that members should wear level 2 PPE in these situations. The regional management feels the same but doesn’t feel compelled enough by it to do something about it itself. They require the Local or someone to submit a proposal for more appropriate equipment to be issued for these events. Why they just can’t do this them selves (esp. since they are in paid positions) is beyond this Local and in the interests of member’s welfare and safety and common sense, we will be following this up with management.

The Local has been advised and Members should be aware that it is possible to contract illnesses such as Cryptosporidium. E.Coli and Hepatitis A.

Should members feel ill with stomach pains or cramps or Flu like symptoms and they were in contact with flood water, they need to report this straight away to the health nurse. The Central Comcen has her contact details.

Responsibility

It would appear, that the region is not being managed by it’s CFO’s and DCFO’s. It appears that the CFO rank is not willing to ensure appropriate fire cover within their fire districts.

Today, city 217 appliance was sent to the workshops for what would appear to be non-urgent repairs despite the fact that there were no relief appliances available (surprise). None the less, the appliance was still allowed to go to the workshops and the crew rode their arm chairs for the day. This event defies belief, one of the busiest appliances and a PRT to boot was allowed off the run without replacement.

Yesterday, the Hutt 4WD was allowed to be used by the fire police at a slip in Lowry Bay because they wanted to keep their van free for turnout. This was facilitated by some obscure agreement with the managers of this district and is going to be dealt with by this Local. This 4WD by the way is on 1st alarm response to a lot of the western hills in the Hutt District for property fires. Members need to be aware of the possible outcomes if there was indeed a fire that required the 4WD for access

There is an agreement between the Local and regional management regarding the replacement of appliances on the rare occasions when there are no spares available and the appliance must be serviced. If the appliance must be serviced immediately and there are no designated relief appliances available, then, as a last resort, there are volunteer 6/3 appliances available that are K0’d during the day at Petone, Porirua, 2nd appliance Tawa and 2nd Appliance Stokes Valley.

Although this is not ideal, this Local considers it better than responding in a van. These instances should be few and far between in any event.

Remember, in the 1st instance, if no designated relief appliance is available and your appliance does not require urgent and immediate service, do not allow it to be serviced on that day and re-schedule the service.

In regard to use of volunteer 6/3 appliances, the local asked that CFO’s within the greater Wgtn area be made aware of this arrangement and we were assured they were. However, DCFO Wgtn South denied knowing anything of this arrangement. We have been assured again today that this advice to CFO’s will be re-iterated.

Given this undertaking and the reminder contained within this notice, the Union expects that there should be no repeat of the debacle that occurred in Lampton Quay today.

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