In the next fortnight Fire and Emergency work places around the country should expect to get their own copies of the Safety, Health and Wellbeing (SHW) Policy and Joint Endorsement Statement which shows the commitment Fire and Emergency New Zealand, and the Unions and Associations we work with have to working together on safety, health and wellbeing matters.

This provides an excellent opportunity for all leaders and their people to discuss together what the policy means and think about practical ways that we can all contribute to keeping everyone safe and well.  The discussion could also cover the support people can expect from their leaders and each other, and how we can learn from the things we do well, and the few times when things don’t go so well.

When signing the Joint Endorsement Statement on 3 July, Fire and Emergency New Zealand Chief Executive, Rhys Jones, said he is particularly encouraged by the support behind the policy commitment and how important this is for our organisation.

“Our firefighters have to cope with some of the worst situations you can find yourself in, including managing fires, vehicle crashes, medical emergencies, natural disasters and rescues,” he said.

“Situations that include the risk of injuring themselves when helping others, but which also impact on their overall wellbeing after the event.”

“This commitment is not only what we must do for our people, but also reflects their level of commitment to helping our communities around the entire country every day.”

President of the NZ Professional Firefighters Union, Peter Nicolle said he was particularly pleased that the new policy was developed by those who deal with high risk situations almost every day.

“Everyone on the working group who helped put this policy together was able to use their experience, both operational and non-operational, to come up with an approach we, and our members, strongly endorse,” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by the leaders of the all five Unions and Associations who wrote and signed the Joint Endorsement Statement - The New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union, the Fire and Rescue Commanders Association, the United Fire Brigades Association, the Public Service Association and the Forest and Rural Fire Association of New Zealand.

The Board Members and Chief Executive with the signed policy – 3rd July 2017

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