This year’s National Firefighter Combat Day coincided with International Firefighters Day - what perfect timing to bring together over 150 firefighters. While the sector sadly didn’t get as much attention on this day as World Naked Gardening Day (also May 4th) I want to take this moment to acknowledge each one of us - it’s important that we give ourselves due credit.
Any opportunity for firefighters to be on show, particularly in a safe and public arena like Wellington’s vibrant waterfront, is a key opportunity to remind the public of who we are. That ‘firefighter’ doesn’t just cover fighting fire, but attending to motor vehicle incidents and medical first response situations. We do so many things beyond fire that the public just do not realise. We’re pillars in the community that help out at community events, respond to alarms, civil emergencies.
We have the courage and commitment to do what’s right, not what’s easy.
And we’re not just the frontline people too – we’re the operational support or the administration volunteers. Those that prop us up or act as the glue to keep our brigades functioning.
Fire and Emergency are about to release their new values. As we shine a light upon ourselves in the sector let’s consider the importance of values. Values form the basis of any cultural DNA – they are broad rules to align ourselves to and hold each other accountable to. Our values influence how we think, the things we say and the way we act. Our values are important because they help us grow and develop.
Even if you are not a FENZ firefighter these values represent the best qualities of this sector, to which we all belong:
- We do the right thing / Kia tika
- We serve and support / Manaakitanga
- We are better together / Whanaungatanga
- We strive to improve / Auahatanga
Whenever I attend any of our events I see first-hand those living the last two values. Whether it’s breaking New Zealand records or achieving a personal best at National Firefighter Combat or attending one of our development workshops, or coming to learn, share and network at Conference, each attendee is striving to improve. And that’s where we hope to continue supporting each one of you. At the heart of the combat challenge is family (whanau) support. Between us all doing our part, we really are better together.
As FENZ National Commander Paul McGill commented at the prize giving event on Saturday, brigades that come together to take part in our challenge events really benefit from the team spirit and morale that comes from the competition. Combat challenge champion Lauren Malkin identified how the support of those around her is crucial; ‘it’s not hard, I just align myself with the right people’. Within your role in your brigade, being the right person starts with living the values that make us the pillars in our community that the public look towards.
Bill Butzbach, UFBA CEO
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