COVID-19

  • These pages will have new information added in response to frequently asked questions.
  • If you can't find the information you are looking for, send your question to covid@fireandemergency.nz
  • For all enquiries about Payroll, send all correspondence to the generic email address only: NHQPayroll@fireandemergency.nz
  •  For the current information on keeping you and your family or whānau safe during the pandemic, visit the new government website: covid19.govt.nz(external link)

 27/03/2020: Updates to Pandemic Kit Label and Q & As on weather station inspections and leave

30/03/2020: New clinical update from St John.

31/03/2020: 2020 Flu vacination page added

 

New Zealand is currently at Alert Level 4 – Eliminate

As at 11.59pm Wednesday 25 March, New Zealand is at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – Eliminate. See more information about New Zealand's COVID-19 Alert levels.

For COVID-19 health advice and information, contact the Healthline team (for free) on 0800 358 5453 or +64 9 358 5453 for international SIMS.

Ministry of Health situation

The Ministry of Health holds information on the current cases in New Zealand.

For a summary of the current health status see Ministry of Health website.

Unite Against COVID-19 

www.covid19.govt.nz has everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place. Find out what help is available and get the latest updates.

Joint guidance for New Zealand Defence Force, Police, Fire and Emergency New Zealand and ambulance services

  • Law, order and emergency service agencies such as fire and emergency, ambulance, police and have been given essential service status under the current Covid-19 alert level 4. To ensure these first responders are able to maintain their operational readiness and ability to respond to emergency calls for assistance from the public some of the many and varied businesses that support first responders will also require essential service designation, either wholly or in part.
  • Examples include those service providers that undertake emergency and reactive repairs and maintenance to our vehicles and our various properties, such as fire and ambulance stations for example. Other essential service businesses might include suppliers and repairers of critical protective clothing and response-related equipment as well as those organisations that support, maintain and fix our various IT and telecommunications systems.
  • First response agencies will take a considered but stringent view of what businesses should legitimately be designated as essential service providers and are very aware of the government’s requirement to comply with the intent of the Level 4 alert. Undertaking routine maintenance and supply of non-essential resources would not constitute essential service however, we may require such businesses to maintain and sustain a minimum capability to respond to priority and urgent requests for supplies and/or repairs to key infrastructure. For any businesses that are designated as essential or asked to maintain and sustain a minimum capability, we would expect stringent protocols in place around health measures and contact tracing.
  • First response agencies are undertaking a more detailed review of their current service providers to ensure the intent of the Level 4 alert is being complied with but also ensuring emergency response capability is not unduly or unnecessarily compromised over the next 4 weeks.

Guidance document-

Public safety and security workstream-essential services scope and assignments

Download

 

Keeping yourself safe and well

Follow these basic steps to help prevent the spread:

  • Hand hygiene - Wash your hands with soap and water often (for at least 20 seconds).
  • Cough and sneeze etiquette - Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • Social distance - Try to keep a distance of 2 metres between yourself and another person. Stay home if you feel unwell.
  • Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 if you have any symptoms and have been overseas recently or have been in close contact with someone confirmed with COVID-19.

Staying well is about more than just hygiene, you can also access a range of support services for maintaining your wellbeing.

Looking after your mental health-

Extract from Chief Executive Rhys Jones' email 24 March 2020 5:17 PM

In these extraordinary times, our psychological wellbeing is critical. As circumstances change day-by-day, so does our wellbeing. You may be feeling increasingly stressed, anxious or overwhelmed. No matter the source of stress, it is important to seek help before you are struggling.

There are several support services available to all Fire and Emergency personnel and their families. On this portal page , (Seek safety, health and wellbeing support), you’ll find links to a range of support services available to you, both from within Fire and Emergency and external to our organisation.

I also ask you to look after each other – where you can do that safely. Connect via Skype, phone or email. For those of you at home with whanau, it’s timely to check your homes are fire safe – particularly as you will be spending so much time there.

Further information to help manage your wellbeing

The below sites also have lots of good information to help you manage your wellbeing. 

Unite Against COVID19 (official Government website) - https://covid19.govt.nz/help-and-advice/for-everyone/looking-after-your-mental-health/

Mental Health Foundation - https://www.mentalhealth.org.nz/get-help/covid-19/

Ministry of Health - https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-taking-care-your-mental-wellbeing

As an essential service for the safety of New Zealanders, Fire and Emergency personnel can access government funding through licenced childcare providers (for example through PORSE, Barnados and Edubase / Home Grown Kids) to provide in home care to children aged 0-14 during the nationwide’s period of self isolation.

To provide care to children of essential workers, the in home carer will be classified as an essential worker.

However, there are public health rules to comply with. These are:

  • The person providing care of your children will essentially become an extension of your self-isolating household group
  • This group must remain the same for the whole 4-week period
  • The carer should not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period
  • If a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home

Initial list of contact details for providers:

More information will also be available on the official covid19 website

 

From Chief Executive Rhys Jones. Email sent 27 March 4:13 PM

Tēnā koutou katoa

As we come to the end of an extraordinary week, I’d like to acknowledge every one of you for your dedication to providing an essential service to New Zealanders in these trying times. You’ve done this while having to adjust your own lives following the move to Alert Level 4 and a national state of emergency.

Many of our operational leaders have been involved in making decisions to ensure we are prepared to respond to emergencies through this self-isolation period. There will be other challenges, but I am confident we are well-placed for whatever the coming weeks bring.

For non-operational staff, the key focus has been on supporting our operational branches, continuing core business, adjusting project and programme plans and setting up to work from home. Some of this work has not been easy, and I’m aware many people have made some tough decisions and have worked long hours. My thanks to you all.

The ELT has been meeting multiple times each day and remains well connected within the organisation and to our wider emergency response and government networks. To ensure ELT is the only group making organisational decisions during this period, please raise any issues with your leaders who will raise them to the right level. It is crucial we can take a consistent and coordinated approach.

Our risk reduction and community engagement teams have had to think outside the box this week - with more people at home, we now have an increased risk of home fires, and we are no longer able to connect with our communities face to face to spread our message. I am pleased to see we have quickly taken to mainstream and social media to connect with a wide audience. Thank you to the many brigades who are sharing these messages through their own social media networks. I am aware that there are other risks that will be increased during this period, and so we will continue to keep a strong focus on public messaging for risk reduction. 

Please continue to use the Portal COVID-19 pages as your key source of information as there are a number of important operational and organisation updates being posted very regularly to this page. The government’s COVID-19 website is also updated regularly. If you can’t find the answers to your questions here, please email covid@fireandemergency.nz, additional resourcing has been put in place to ensure answers are being provided in a more timely way to the questions received through this inbox.

May I please also remind you that there are a range of support services available to you and your families, both within Fire and Emergency and external to our organisation, and all the information is available on this portal page

For those of you who can take a break this weekend, please follow the government’s message and stay within you bubble to reduce the spread of the virus. And, to the firefighters serving our communities over the weekend, please follow the operational instructions provided to keep yourself safe. Your work provides reassurance to the nation during these testing times – thank you.

 

Noho ora mai rā

Nā Rhys

 

Rhys Jones

Chief Executive

 

Previous updates

  

2020 Free flu vaccinations

This page has the instructions about how to get your 2020 free flu vaccinations, for all operational personnel and other "essential" personnel.

Information for leaders (login may be required)

Latest update, two new accordions added for Chief Executive and National Commander leaders updates 26 March 11:20 AM. Login required. This page contains information for leaders and managers.

Events and activities

This page has information about how we manage our community education activities and other events during the pandemic response

Maintaining our wellbeing

This page has information about how we can all take care of our physical and psychological wellbeing throughout the COVID-19 situation and response.

Questions and answers

This page will have some of the answers that we have to frequently asked questions about our response to COVID-19

Exposure and self-isolation

This page has information about what counts as exposure, close contact, and when you would need to self-isolate.

Leave and sick leave

This page contains information about sick leave and annual leave during the COVID-19 response