My latest blog includes updates on a number of subjects, reflecting a busy and varied month for Fire and Emergency:

International Women’s Day

Fire and Emergency is committed to building a workplace where everyone feels respected and included, regardless of gender, ethnicity, role or thinking.

Today, International Women’s Day, I want to take a moment to acknowledge our female personnel and everyone (men and women) who has supported and championed for them. We have a proud history of women responding to emergencies in New Zealand, but the journey for some in our organisation hasn’t been easy.

More recently we’ve made great progress in establishing the Women’s Development project and the Women in Fire and Emergency NZ network (WFENZ), to support people in our organisation to navigate their way around gender topics. 

So while today, we join with others across the world in celebrating the important women in our lives, as an organisation our focus is long term and sustained. I encourage you to take some time to learn about and get to know the women in the WFENZ network closest to you.

Tasman District Fire – a month on

It’s now been just over a month since the Tasman District fire first burst into life and, while the fire has now been contained and the State of Emergency lifted, the fire risk across the entire Nelson region remains extreme and we continue to be vigilant and ready to respond.

I am extremely proud of our response. It has been a massive team effort involving crews from across the Nelson-Tasman region and wider New Zealand, and coordination with multiple partner agencies.

I want to specifically acknowledge the local volunteer and career crews who were first to respond.  Your efforts have been crucial to helping us bring this event to a successful conclusion, and your continued commitment will help us ensure it remains under control.

There are always lessons to take from any event, even when the overall result has been overwhelmingly positive.  So we will be reviewing and looking at how we can be even better prepared for the next one.

A number of you have spent an extended period away from home and your day jobs.  We have been working with your unions and associations to determine a volunteer reimbursement package to reflect this sacrifice.  You can learn more about your reimbursement options here.

And as always, if you need health and wellbeing support, please access the services available to you.

Consultation on the positions reporting to the Deputy Chief Executive, Service Delivery

During February we consulted on the proposed organisational structure and positions that would report to the Deputy Chief Executive, Service Delivery. This consultation has now closed, and I’d like to thank everyone that took the time to give their views on the proposal.

This feedback is now being read and analysed, and a decision on the structure of the Service Delivery leadership team will be announced in mid-to-late March.

Executive Leadership Team update

Next Monday 11 March, we welcome Raewyn Bleakley as Deputy Chief Executive (DCE), Office of the Chief Executive (OCE), a little earlier than previously communicated.

Raewyn’s immediate focus will be on the future shape and design of her team, and she will then be taking a pre-planned three-week period of leave. With this in mind, I have asked Bella Sutherland to continue to act in the role of DCE, OCE until 25 April 2019.

Russell Wood officially starts as DCE Organisational Strategy and Capability Development on 18 March to complete our new Executive Leadership Team. However, he will join us for a couple of days early next week when, as a Team, we’ll be meeting in Invercargill and visiting some stations in Region 5.

I look forward to touching base with some of you then.

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