UFBA advocating for inclusion of volunteers in FENZ Whanaungatanga Programme

Issue date:

Yesterday afternoon, Fire and Emergency New Zealand advised they will be releasing a wellbeing and trust survey as a part of the Whanaungatanga Programme – which is one of 15 international programmes selected to receive funding from the Movember Foundation as part of its global initiative to develop evidence-based mental ill-health and suicide prevention programmes for veterans and first responders.

This programme seeks to identify, and then minimisie or eliminate, organisational factors that contribute to psychological distress and injury. It also aims to identify and promote the organisational factors that contribute to wellbeing. The results of the Wellbeing Survey will be used to help develop and evaluate organisational change initiatives

The Whanaungatanga Programme is initially being piloted in the Te Hiku region amongst a group of employed firefighters and managers.

At the completion of the pilot programme, Fire and Emergency will review the evaluation data and consider implementation across the organisation. However, we are advised that due to the specific funding received from Movember, this first survey is only going to FENZ employees.

The UFBA will be working with Fire and Emergency and advocating that this programme is extended to include volunteer firefighters – as part of their obligations to treat volunteers as if they were employees and knowing that volunteers are exposed to many of the same risks as their employed colleagues.

The UFBA understands that the ultimate goal for Fire and Emergency is to have an embedded, evidence-based mental ill-health and suicide prevention programme that can be utilised for the benefit of all its people. Fire and Emergency acknowledges that all their personnel can be repeatedly exposed to potentially traumatic events and that this leads to an increased risk of psychological distress and injury.

In the meantime, if any members would like to discuss wellbeing concerns or issues, or require support for their brigade, they can contact us on 0508 832 269 for a confidential chat or email support@ufba.org.nz or access one of the Fire and Emergency options on the portal -  https://portal.fireandemergency.nz/how-do-i/safety-health-and-wellbeing/seek-wellbeing-support

You are also welcome to contact Whanaungatanga Programme team member and Principal Wellbeing Advisor Andrew Chappell – Andrew.chappell@fireandemergency.nz, who happy to discuss this with volunteers and assist in any way.

We look forward to working with Fire and Emergency on their journey to becoming a more trauma-informed organisation.