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National: Firefighters Union calls for end to Traumatic Events Memorandum

12:57 on 23 June 2022

By Liam Hansen

Frontline firefighters are protesting working conditons forcing both them and the Ambulance Service to attend traumatic events with limited staff.

Back in 2014, St John, the Wellington Free Ambulance and the Fire Service signed a memorandum of understanding, which requires fire crews to go with ambulance staff to all life-threatening calls.

While Ambulance Crews are underpaid and understaffed, they have also been facing an increase in demand and are overwhelmed by the workload.

This is a part of the NZ Professional Firefighters Unions wider strike began on the 13th of June, after claiming Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) barely paid some fiefighters the adult minimum wage and had forced some stations to close due to understaffing. 

Union National Secretary Wattie Watson spoke to Liam on the Friday Wire a few weeks ago, also highlihting how "THere are some firefighters working a hundred hours a week." 

"Everytime they respond to a fire, they increase their risk of exposue to carcinogens, every time they're exposed to medical response, their mental health suffers."

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.