Disappointment NZPFU is disrespecting volunteer firefighters

Issue date:

We’re disappointed to see the NZPFU is demanding volunteer firefighters don’t ‘mingle’ with career firefighters at courses aiming to train firefighters in water rescue techniques.

The NZPFU’s update to members entitled ‘Specialist Water Response Force Training’ states:

That there will not be a mingling of volunteer/external/career candidates on courses as we need to have the confidence in the prior training and experience of candidates.  This week’s course will only have career firefighter trainees.

The United Fire Brigades Association members include both paid and volunteer firefighters – we value all of our members equally.

We’re acutely aware of the valuable role volunteers play in responding to emergencies in communities right across New Zealand.

The reality is 85% of Fire and Emergency’s frontline workforce is made up of volunteers. Our country is hugely reliant on these 12,500 people who train regularly and  drop what they’re doing and provide assistance when their communities need them.

Our volunteer firefighters take a professional approach to every emergency they attend – be it a fire, a car crash or a medical emergency. They’re trained and highly experienced.

The NZPFU’s statement is not respectful or inclusive and undermines the value and expertise of Fire and Emergency’s volunteers and contractors.

To say there will not be a “mingling” of the different types of the workforce in order to “have the confidence in prior training and experience” is discriminatory.

It completely disrespects the significant contribution these emergency service responders give to our communities and shows complete ignorance of the expertise of volunteers and contractors outside of their firefighting duties, and for the critical need for all fire and emergency personnel to be aligned in purpose and unified in delivery as one coherent national team.

The UFBA is deeply concerned about this divisive language and approach being used.

The UFBA believes all of our members should have access to furthering their training and response techniques. After all, the emergency incidents they attend are exactly the same.

We would like to see the NZPFU show volunteers the respect they deserve and retract their statement immediately.

Kia kaha, kia Kotahi ra
Our strength is our unity