The New Zealand Fire Service (NZFS, Māori: Whakaratonga Iwi, "Service to the People") was New Zealand's main firefighting body from 1 April 1976 until 1 July 2017 - at which point it was dissolved and incorporated into the new Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
|New Zealand Fire Service|
|Whakaratonga Iwi (Māori)|
|Leading integrated fire and emergency services for a safer New Zealand|
|Established||1 April 1976|
|Dissolved||30 June 2017 (replaced by Fire and Emergency New Zealand)|
|Annual calls||74,879 (2015–16)|
|Employees||1,700 career firefighters|
8,300 urban volunteer firefighters
|Staffing||585 management and support|
76 communications centre
|Fire chief||Paul McGill (National Commander)|
|Facilities and equipment|
The NZFS was somewhat unusual, internationally, in that it had jurisdiction over the entire country with no division by region or city. It was the result of the New Zealand Fire Service Act (1975) which nationalised the various District-level brigades which had developed across the country.
The New Zealand Fire Service was predominantly configured as an Urban Fire & Rescue Service. The Fire Service Act placed responsibility on the NZFS for firefighting in gazetted Urban Fire Districts, totalling about 3% of New Zealand's land area but covering 85% of the country's population. The remainder of the land was covered by Rural Fire Authorities (RFAs) that acted under the Forest and Rural Fires Act. Fire Service brigades responded outside their Districts to deal with structure and rescue incidents, and usually undertook the initial suppression attack on wildland fires.
Note: The New Zealand Department of Conservation was a RFA with responsibility for firefighting within recognised State areas, including National Parks, totalling about 30% of the country. The New Zealand Defence Force remains responsible for all Defence Areas as defined through the Defence Act. With these two agencies included, the NZFS and territorial local authority RFAs formed the bulk of the firefighting capability in New Zealand. There continues some contribution from Industry Fire Brigades (those run by commercial entities, for example forestry companies or Airport Authorities).
The entire organisation reported to the Minister of Internal Affairs, by way of the New Zealand Fire Service Commission. The Commission was composed of five members, and the Minister was required by law to appoint at least one person who was either a fire engineer or had experience as a senior operational fire fighter. The New Zealand Fire Service Commission was also the National Rural Fire Authority.
Beneath the Commission were the positions of Chief Executive and National Commander. At the time of dissolution both positions were filled by Paul McGill. Where the Chief Executive did not have operational fire fighting experience, a separate National Commander was appointed to be the most senior operational fire fighter in the country. The National Commander may have taken control at a particularly serious incident, though this happened very rarely.
The Chief Executive had a number of direct reports, though these were concerned with matters such as human resources and finance rather than operational matters.
The country was broken into five fire regions: Region 1 (Northland/Auckland), Region 2 (Waikato/Bay of Plenty/Gisborne), Region 3 (Lower North Island), Region 4 (South Island north of the Waitaki River), and Region 5 (South Island south of the Waitaki River). Each region was in the charge of a Fire Region Commander. All FRCs report directly to the National Commander, and were promoted from the ranks of operational staff. A FRC could take control of a major incident, and was ultimately responsible for any incident at which they are present even if they were not the Officer-in-Charge.
Reporting to the Fire Region Commander were the Area Commanders and Assistant Area Commanders who manage the 24 areas contained within the regions. The areas were:
Assistant Area Commanders were primarily responsible for managing the career districts, while the Area Commanders had overall responsibility for the area as well as for the volunteer Chief Fire Officers of each volunteer fire districts within their areas. These were the officers who are ultimately entrusted – via the Fire Service Act – with the powers that are exercised at the scene of an incident to 'deal with' the emergency. These powers were far-reaching – they provide authority to commandeer, demolish or destroy whatever is required in the course of their duties, given no more suitable options.
Each Chief Fire Officer (CFO) had a Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) and a number of Senior Station Officers (SSOs) and Station Officers (SOs) reporting to them. The minimum number of firefighters required to man most appliances was four – an officer-in-charge, a driver/pump operator, and two firefighters – although many appliances were equipped to carry an extra one or two firefighters, operational support staff, or observers.
An SSO may have run in place of an SO as required or at their own discretion. In career districts the SSOs were strategically located to provide a more experienced command officer who is usually placed such that they are responded to most incidents of significance.
The New Zealand Fire Service employed 1,713 professional career firefighters, 444 support staff and 80 communication centre staff.
Each career fire station had a number of watches (shifts). Full-time career stations have four watches, red, brown, blue and green, rotating on a "four-on four-off" schedule: two 10-hour day shifts, followed by two 14-hour night shifts, followed by four days off. Combination career and volunteer stations may have had a yellow watch, in which career staff work four 10-hour day shifts per calendar week, having one weekday, Saturday and Sunday off. Non-operational staff were "black watch", and work a regular 40-hour week.
Career Firefighters responded to 70–80% of the incidents the NZFS attended and protected around 80% of the population.
Career firefighters numbers were relatively stable with low turnover. The Fire Service usually recruited twice-yearly, and received up to 700 applications for just 48 positions on each intake, making competition high and job prospects poor compared to other industries. Initial training for career firefighters was done on an intensive 12-week residential course at the national training centre in Rotorua that covered not only traditional firefighting subjects but others required of a modern professional Fire and Rescue Service. Topics such as; urban search and rescue (USAR), motor vehicle extrication and hazardous materials.
Career firefighters provided the NZFS personnel that staff the nations specialised USAR Response teams. Additional specialised training was provided for these personnel, however all paid career firefighters were trained to a baseline USAR 'Responder' level.
Career firefighters made up only 20 percent of the New Zealand Fire Service's firefighting manpower; the remaining 80 percent of firefighters were volunteers, who received no payment for their time or labour. The 8,300 volunteer firefighters belonged to the 360 volunteer fire brigades, mainly serving small towns, communities and outer suburbs which career stations did not cover, and responded to 20–30% of all incidents the New Zealand Fire Service attended.
Volunteer firefighters had diverse backgrounds; around 14 percent were women, compared to just 2.8 percent in the career ranks. Volunteers were on-call; when an emergency call came through, firefighters were alerted through pagers and a in many cases, siren atop the fire station.
The minimum age to become a volunteer firefighter in the New Zealand Fire Service was 16, although those under 18 required parental consent. Initial training was done within the local volunteer fire brigade at their weekly training nights and culminated in a seven-day residential recruit course, normally held at the National Training Centre (NTC) in Rotorua or the Woolston Training Centre in Christchurch. Training included hose drills, ladder drills, portable pumps, and breathing apparatus use (BA), which was carried out in BATB (Breathing Apparatus Training Building) and RFTB (Realistic Fire Training Building) simulators. The BATB is a gas-fired training facility and the RFTB is a live fire scenario.
Volunteer units within the NZFS organisation also provided support services over and above the role of the Firefighter. Various Operational Support Units (OSUs) manned by volunteers were attached to Fire Districts and Brigades across New Zealand, which provide non-firefighting assistance at large-scale incidents. These include traffic and crowd control, scene cordons and lighting, basic first aid, salvage, communications and logistics, and even catering. The biggest of them, Auckland Operational Support Unit, also known as the Auckland Volunteer Fire Brigade, was also the biggest volunteer fire brigade or unit in New Zealand with a membership of 60 and in the 2015 calendar year, members responded to more than 700 incidents.
A new colour scheme for helmets was introduced in August 2013, and rolled out in late 2013. Previously, yellow helmets were issued to Firefighters and Station Officers, white helmets to Chief Fire Officers, Area Commanders and Assistant National Commanders, with markings being the only discerning features. The changes saw Station Officer helmets change to red (trainee firefighter helmets, which were red, changed to green), and Area Commander and Assistant National Commander helmets change to silver. The change was to make it easier to identify the command structure at a large-scale, multi-agency incident.
|National Commander (NC)||silver crossed sword and baton below a crown||black|
|Deputy National Commander (DNC)||silver crossed sword and baton below an impeller||black|
|Assistant National Commander (ANC)||three impellers in a triangle below a crown||silver with two blue stripes|
|Area Commander (AC)||one impeller below a crown||silver with one blue stripe|
|Assistant Area Commander (AAC)||three impellers||silver|
|Chief Fire Officer (CFO)||impeller between two ferns below two impellers||white with two blue stripes|
|Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO)||impeller between two ferns below one impeller||white with one blue stripe|
|Senior Station Officer (SSO)||two impellers||red with two blue stripes|
|Station Officer (SO)||one impeller||red with one blue stripe|
|Senior Firefighter (SFF)||two bars||yellow with two red stripes|
|Qualified Firefighter (QFF)||one bar||yellow with one red stripe|
|Recruit Firefighter (RFF)||plain||fluro-green|
The New Zealand Fire Service was first and foremost a firefighting service, as made obvious by the name. However, it was also increasingly called upon for other emergencies where firefighting skills and tools are helpful, including hazardous material incidents, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters, and medical emergencies. This change in focus was reflected in the name-change effected during the transition to Fire and Emergency New Zealand.
In the year to 30 June 2013, the Fire Service attended 70,900 callouts. Of those, 7.7 percent were for structural fires, 23.3 percent were for non-structural fires, 32.8 percent for non-fire emergencies, and 36.2 percent were false alarms. In the same period, 38 people died in 34 fatal fires.
Examples of non-fire emergencies the Fire Service attended include:
The New Zealand Fire Service operated around 850 fire appliances, including conventional pumping appliances and specialist appliances, and 330 support vehicles. Fire appliances are given a three- or four-digit number for identification; the first two digits specify the appliance's resident station (numbers may be repeated between areas), while the last one or two digits specify its function. An example is "Newlands 291" – 29 indicated the appliance is resident at Newlands fire station in Wellington, and 1 indicates its function is a pump.
The basic appliance in New Zealand is the Pump Tender, which is primarily equipped for fires. Typical equipment includes a pump (normally driven off the appliance engine via a power take-off); a high pressure hose reel for small fires and initial attack; a supply of high-pressure and low-pressure hoses for larger fires; fire-fighting foam; a standpipe and bar for accessing fire hydrants, and suction hoses for accessing non-reticulated water supplies; forcible entry tools such as Halligan bars, axes and sledgehammers; aluminium and wooden ladders; and a first aid kit with an automated external defibrillator.
The two major variations on the Pump Tender are the Pump Aerial Tender and the Pump Rescue Tender. The Pump Aerial Tender has an additional aerial ladder and monitor for high-rise and aerial attacks. The Pump Rescue Tender, in addition to firefighting equipment, carries extra equipment primarily for motor vehicle accidents and vehicle extrication. Typical equipment includes hydraulic rescue tools (aka "The Jaws of Life"), vehicle stabilisation equipment, and winches.
Most new pumping appliances for the New Zealand Fire Service up until the transition to Fire and Emergency New Zealand, were manufactured by the Fraser Engineering Group in Lower Hutt, and based on Iveco, Scania and finally MAN chassis. Other maunufacturers and chassis including Hino, Dennis, Mitsubishi/Fuso, International, Dodge, Bedford and Mack had been used in the past.
There were four sizes of pumping appliances, named Type 1 through Type 5:
Pump Tender identification numbers ends in 1, 2 or 3 (e.g. Onehunga 221, Manurewa 301, Hastings 561); Pump Aerial Tender identification numbers end in 4, 5 or 6 (e.g. Ellerslie 274, Auckland 205, Parnell 256); and Pump Rescue Tender (PRT) identification numbers end in 7 (e.g. Auckland 207, Papatoetoe 347, Christchurch 217)
Career staff appliances may also carry more specialised items used for industrial rescue, light USAR and high-angle line rescue. In some areas, these are carried on separate Rescue Tenders or Emergency Tenders which do not have pumping capabilities.
Additional specialist appliances are usually strategically located in each fire district. Typyical appliances, their functions and identification numbers are as followed:
The NZFS worked closely with the NZ Police in many respects – a key one of those is that the three Communications Centres which co-ordinate the Fire Service response across NZ are colocated with their Police Equivalents in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The radio network used by the Fire Service for its nationwide coverage was provided and supported by the Police, although most urban areas provided for an exclusive Fire-only radio channel or channels.
In rural areas, the channel may have been shared between both services. Generally this was an acceptable arrangement, though when either the Police or the Fire Service are particularly busy in an area with shared radio services, this could cause the other service some grief. In contrast, the fact that Police have ready and direct access to the Fire Communications Centre was occasionally of some value in terms of inter-agency liaison.
At the scene of an incident, VHF and UHF simplex frequencies were generally used. These were usually common between NZFS, NRFA, DoC and NZDF firefighters and discrete from the Police. Access to shared liaison channels was also provided, allowing for Ambulance, Police, Fire and other resources (for example aircraft that may be called upon to assist in firefighting) to co-ordinate.
The New Zealand Fire Service was one of the key developers of the Coordinated Incident Management System which is now in widespread use throughout the NZ Emergency Services environment. This provides for a common set of terminology and procedures which lends itself to multi-agency incidents.
...the Maori words "whakaratonga iwi" – meaning "service to people"...
The firefighter referendum of 1995 was a Citizens Initiated Referendum held in New Zealand on 2 December 1995 (1995-12-02), based on the question:
"Should the number of professional firefighters employed full time in the New Zealand Fire Service be reduced below the number employed on 1 January 1995?"2008 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
The 2008 New Year Honours in New Zealand were appointments by Elizabeth II in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders, and to celebrate the passing of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. They were announced on 31 December 2007.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.2009 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
The 2009 New Year Honours in New Zealand were appointments by Elizabeth II in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders, and to celebrate the passing of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. They were announced on 31 December 2008.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.2010 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
The 2010 New Year Honours in New Zealand were appointments by Elizabeth II in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders, and to celebrate the passing of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. They were announced on 31 December 2009.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.2014 Birthday Honours (New Zealand)
The 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours in New Zealand, celebrating the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, were appointments made by the Queen in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. They were announced on 2 June 2014.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.2014 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
The 2014 New Year Honours in New Zealand were appointments by Elizabeth II in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders, and to celebrate the passing of 2013 and the beginning of 2014. They were announced on 31 December 2013.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.2014 New Zealand bravery awards
The 2014 New Zealand bravery awards were announced via a Special Honours List on 23 June 2014. All the recipients were recognised for acts of bravery following the magnitude 6.3 Christchurch earthquake that struck on 22 February 2011.2015 Birthday Honours (New Zealand)
The 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours in New Zealand, celebrating the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, were appointments made by the Queen in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. They were announced on 1 June 2015.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.2015 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
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The 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours in New Zealand, celebrating the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, were appointments made by the Queen in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. They were announced on 6 June 2016.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.2017 Birthday Honours (New Zealand)
The 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours in New Zealand, celebrating the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, were appointments made by the Queen in her right as Queen of New Zealand, on the advice of the New Zealand government, to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. They were announced on 5 June 2017.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.Edward Thorne (naval officer)
Rear Admiral Edward Courtney "Ted" Thorne, (29 October 1923 – 23 October 2013) was a senior Royal New Zealand Navy officer. He rose to be Chief of Naval Staff and later served as the Commissioner of the New Zealand Fire Service.Fire and Emergency New Zealand
Fire and Emergency New Zealand is New Zealand's main firefighting and emergency services body.
Fire and Emergency was formally established on 1 July 2017, after the New Zealand Fire Service, the National Rural Fire Authority, and 38 rural fire districts and territorial authorities amalgamated to form one new organisation. It has nationwide responsibility for fire safety, firefighting, hazardous substance incident response, vehicle extrication and urban search and rescue.Fire captain
Captain is a rank in various fire services.
In most American and Canadian fire services, a captain ranks above a lieutenant and below a Battalion Chief, and therefore two grades above a regular firefighter. This varies, though, between departments – In the Los Angeles County Fire Department, for example, engineer is the next lowest rank below captain.
A captain is typically in charge of a fire company, a group of firefighters who are assigned to the same fire apparatus. The captain is responsible for the welfare and performance of the company's personnel and the maintenance of the apparatus. In a single-apparatus fire station, the captain will also be the overall manager of the station. Fire departments will typically arrange the shifts so that a captain can be present at most emergencies. Besides those who work at fire stations, captains are employed in other roles such as managing training.
The rank of captain does not always have a direct equivalent in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries outside of Canada. These fire services are more often organized around a "watch". Whereas a company is a group of firefighters who work different shifts on the same apparatus, a watch is a group of firefighters who work the same shift on more than one apparatus. Like a captain in American and Canadian fire departments, the watch manager will be two grades above a regular firefighter.
In the New Zealand Fire Service in the early 1980s, a captain was in charge of a station. The NZFS has now moved to senior station officer and station officer as station management ranks. The person in charge of a fire brigade is the chief fire officer, and captain is no longer used.Joseph Sullivan (rower)
Joseph Sullivan (born 11 April 1987) is a New Zealand rower.
As a student at Queen Charlotte College in Picton, Sullivan competed at the 2003, 2004 and 2005 national secondary school rowing championships (Maadi Cup). He was a member of the crews that won the boys under-18 double sculls for the school three years running, and won the boys under-18 single sculls events in 2004 and 2005. In his home town, he is known as "the pride of Picton".He won back-to-back gold medals in the men's double sculls with rowing partner Nathan Cohen at both the 2010 (at Lake Karapiro, by six hundredths of a second over Germans Hans Gruhne and Stephan Krüger) and 2011 World Rowing Championships (in Slovenia). It was the first gold medal win for a New Zealand premier double sculls combination at the world championships.At the 2012 Summer Olympics at Eton Dorney, Windsor, Sullivan and rowing partner Nathan Cohen won the gold medal in the men's double scull event. They broke the Olympic best time in the heats.In the finals they were in last place at the 500 m mark, in fifth place at the 1000 m mark, in fourth at the 1500 m mark, and then sprinted as the line approached to take first for the victory, with a last quarter of 1:33. They won with a time of 6 minutes, 31.67 seconds. They finished ahead of the Italy's Alessio Sartori and Romano Battisti by 1:13 seconds, and Slovenian 2000 Olympic champions and 2004 silver medalists Luka Špik and Iztok Čop came in third. Sullivan and Cohen were awarded a Halberg Award for "New Zealand's Favourite Sporting Moment".Sullivan won five consecutive world titles at U23 and Elite World Rowing Championships. In the 2013 New Year Honours, Sullivan was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rowing.In June 2014, Sullivan announced he was retiring from rowing in order to pursue a career with the New Zealand Fire Service as a firefighter based in Auckland. In 2016, Sullivan joined Emirates Team New Zealand, as a grinder a (i.e. spinning the handles that produce hydraulic pressure to move the boat's wings and daggerboards), for the 2017 America's Cup in Bermuda.List of fire departments
This is a list of fire departments in the world. A fire department (US and Canada) or fire brigade (UK and Commonwealth) (also known as a fire and rescue service or simply fire service) is a public or private organization that provides predominantly emergency firefighting and rescue services for a certain jurisdiction, which is typically a municipality, county, or fire protection district.New Zealand Fire Service Commission
The New Zealand Fire Service Commission was the overseeing authority controlling the New Zealand Fire Service and the New Zealand National Rural Fire Authority. A Crown entity reporting to the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Commission was established by the New Zealand Fire Service Act 1975. The Commission was dissolved on 30 June 2017 when it was replaced by the Fire and Emergency New Zealand Board.
The Commission was composed of five members appointed by the Governor-General. By law, at least one member must be experienced in fire engineering or a senior operational firefighting.At the time of dissolution, the members of the Commission were:
Hon Paul Swain QSO (Chairperson)
Dr Nicola Crauford (Deputy Chair)
Te Arohanui Cook
Peter Drummond MNZMThe Commission members became members of the Board of Fire and Emergency New Zealand on 1 July 2017.Senior station officer (New Zealand Fire Service)
Senior station officer is a rank in the New Zealand Fire Service. In career fire stations, an SSO will be the officer in charge of a single watch at a station with multiple appliances. They will ride as officer on one appliance, with the other appliances being commanded by station officers.
Senior station officer is also a rank in the MFB (Metropolitan Fire Brigade) in Melbourne, Australia. In the MFB a Senior Station Officer has a Silver helmet with Station Officers having Blue helmets. It also became a rank in the CFA (Country Fire Authority) in 2010.
In a volunteer brigade there will usually be only one SSO, and some volunteer brigades have no SSO positions at all. Here the SSO acts as the senior operational officer, to allow the chief fire officer and their deputy to focus on the running of the brigade.
In both career and volunteer situations, an SSO reports to a CFO.
In New Zealand, the senior station officer rank insignia is two impellers. SSOs wear red helmets with two blue stripes (prior to November 2013, they wore yellow helmets with two blue stripes).Station officer
Station officer is a rank in a number of Commonwealth and other fire services, including those in Australia, the United Kingdom and the New Zealand Fire Service.