NZPFU members have reported that for some firefighters the newly issued wildfire jackets are ill-fitting with short sleeves that do not fully cover the arm.

Others have reported that the sleeve is long enough but the Velcro fastener restricts movement. This may result in firefighters not fastening the Velcro and therefore vulnerable to embers blowing up the sleeve.

The new jackets have a Velcro fastener for the sleeve and do not have the wristlet under the sleeve. Attached are photos of two labels in these jackets.

The NZPFU was not notified of the change of design to remove the wristlet and replace with a Velcro fastener on the sleeve.

The NZPFU have raised these defective issues as a matter of urgency with FENZ and proper sized wildfire jackets will be dealt with as a priority.

Members are advised to do the following:

  • Check to ensure that your arm is fully covered when you wear your wildfire jacket sleeve fastened with the Velcro and wearing gloves.
  • Each watch/station collect the names and arm measurements and send to requesting new jackets with correct sizing. FENZ have undertaken to replace the jackets with the correct arm lengths with urgency but this will still take some weeks.
  • In the interim, try the next size up to check whether the arm is fully covered.
  • If members are still at risk of having to use the wildfire jacket with a gap in the arm, the fact the firefighter is not fully protected must be taken into account by the Officer in charge of the incident scene and be part of dynamic risk assessment.

Safety is paramount. If in doubt, do not place yourself at risk of burns.

We have sought a range of information including testing house reports, specifics and certification documentation for all types of wildfire jackets currently issued to professional career firefighters.

We have also requested an urgent meeting of the uniform committee to consider the above issues, and to check compliance with visibility standards as their jackets are issued for the dual purpose to wear when working on the road at accidents and road incidents.

The NZPFU point of contact on this issue is Boyd Raines 021-899-108.

We will keep members informed.

In unity,
Wattie Watson

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