Covid-19 and UFBA services - an update

Issue date:

Kia ora members

In light of the government’s announcement over the weekend that Auckland is now at Level 3 and the rest of the country at Level 2, we are forced to make some changes to our services:

  • The National Waterway Challenge, due to be run this weekend (5/6 March) in Wainuiomata, is cancelled
  • The Mental Health First Response Workshop being run at Wellington’s Te Papa 5 March, is now being offered online.
  • Service honours presentations during Level 2 must adhere to Government guidelines around gatherings and FENZ Covid-19 guideline that they cannot take place on station. Service Honours presentations during Level 3 must be cancelled – further advice can be found below.

National Waterway Challenge - Cancelled

The Events Team and Challenge Panel share the disappointment of all those who have worked hard to prepare for this event. We understand how much these events mean to those who push themselves to achieve their personal goals.  It is particularly disappointing after the huge success of both the North and South Island’s regional events.

We will be refunding all competitor’s registration fees and ask for your patience while our team work through this for you. As it is such a logistically involved event we are unable to postpone the event to a later date, especially while uncertainties remain.

Mental Health First Response Workshop - now online

After piloting an online version last year, we will be offering this to all attendees in the form of an online Zoom session. This ensures attendees still get the essential learnings to support their brigade’s mental health wellbeing.

We will support this delivery with one-to-one follow up sessions so they get the full support from facilitator Damian D’Cruz.

Service honours presentations - advice and information

Brigades should not hold any events at Level 3 alert. You can find government guidelines here. Events can go ahead at Level 2, with the following restrictions:

  • No more than 100 people in one space (including catering staff, etc).
  • Fire and Emergency guidelines in 2020 stated that no functions were to be held at fire stations. Consider a contingency plan or alternative venue if necessary.
  • QR codes should be used for all events - you can get further help with that here.
  • Social distancing – maintain 1 metre distancing between people who don’t regularly meet with each other, and be especially mindful of vulnerable attendees.
  • Extended cleaning procedures – ensure frequent cleaning of surfaces, plenty of soap/paper towels in each toilet, hand sanitisers to be readily available.
  • Catering recommendation – for buffet meals, catering staff serve food or provide individual portions.

Looking ahead…

Life under Covid-19 means we need to always monitor the situation and remain flexible where possible. When making the hard decisions to cancel events we do so with the full information available at the time. Decisions need to be measured and based upon information, not speculation, with all factors at hand.

It is too early to make decisions on all upcoming Challenge events and workshops, however we will be keeping a close eye on how the situation unfolds over the next 10 days with regard to South Island Combat Challenge – so please keep an eye on our website or follow us on Facebook for regular updates.

Living with this virus for a year now, we are all aware of the factors that are taken into account:

  • We need to prioritise the health and safety of our members and follow advice and policy.  Government direction is to avoid large social gatherings, particularly those that are unticketed, which could present potential risk through interaction with untraceable spectators from the public.
  • Furthermore we consider any potential risk in bringing together large numbers of emergency first responders from across the country. We need to avoid contributing towards any risk around a need for firefighters to have to self-isolate and being unavailable to their communities.
  • We manage all available funds wisely. In these circumstances, we try to maintain a balance between service delivery and minimising financial risk.

Stay strong, be kind

It is important to remember to look out for one another and protect your own mental wellbeing during this period of anxiety. If anyone you know does need to self-isolate we encourage you to check in with each other via phone or video-chat – self isolation can be a lonely period but we don’t need to lose our sense of community – and, as ever, the UFBA are here for you.

A reminder that we also have the special Covid-19 Benevolent Fund should anybody be impacted financially. This special fund is set up to ensure there is ‘food on the table’ for you and your family. See here for further info.

For updates please visit https://www.ufba.org.nz/node/207

Kia kaha, kia kotahi ra – Our strength is our unity

Thank you for your ongoing support and we hope you all stay well in your communities.

Ngā mihi nui

The UFBA team