Can anyone smell smoke? Oh, yes – we are burning money to keep fire fighters from sniffing fumes

But isn't it dangerous, having to slide down this bloody pole when the alarm is sounded?

The Busted Blonde should go home to Southland. They desperately need better breeding stock.

And if BB reckons she is past it, or feels disinclined to help harden the genes of Southlanders and put steel back into their backbones, she should call on her offspring to do their bit and go south and multiply.

Something needs doing, because the quality of the bloodstock has undergone a perturbing deterioration.

One consequence is that the current generation of southern fire-fighters has gone soft and pappy and buckled to demands from their trade union.

Those demands ā€“ presumably ā€“ come from a vexatious bunch of buggers sitting on their bums in the capital where bureaucracy thrives.

There was a time when Southlanders would show a stubborn streak and a hankering for independence and rebuff petty demands from up north. The union bosses would be told to piss off.

Not any more, it seems.

Hence Alf can only suppose that a new breed of bloke has infiltrated the Deep South from northern parts, probably the Queen City, because the new lot are behaving like pansies.

And so according to Stuff –

A Southland Fire Service boss is fuming about a union directive forcing all fire trucks to be parked outside because they have been labelled a health risk.

The New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union said diesel fumes when the trucks left or returned to fire stations were a health and safety risk and until extractor systems were installed fire trucks throughout the country were to be kept outside.

Fire Service Southland area manager Brendan Nally slammed the decision as ludicrous and said it could put his staff at risk.

“There’s more immediate and substantive risk for my guys running out to the trucks on an icy or wet morning.”

It has taken quite some time for news of this absurdity to hit the headlines.

The southern fire-fighters buckled to the demands of the bureaucrats some time ago, because –

Invercargill’s three frontline trucks, one spare pump, a tanker and the service’s new hazmat vehicle have not been allowed in the station garage since after Christmas.

Is there any good reason for this nonsense?

Apparently not.

Mr Nally said a national safety and wellbeing committee study found no evidence the service’s personnel suffered poor health effects from diesel fume exposure.

“There’s just no direct link.”

So what’s going on?

Ah, the bloody health and safety legislation.

The Health and Safety Employment Act requires all practical steps must be taken to limit any risks.

Yep. It was passed under a National-led government back in 1992, but a whole lot of stuff was thrown in to make things tougher for employers and easier for namby-pamby staff under the Clark Mob back in 2002.

Anyway, the New Zealand Fire Service agreed to install the systems in May last year.

As Nally points out –

“It was always going to happen, but it takes time. I don’t understand what the union is doing. They’re putting their own firefighters at risk. It’s crazy.”

Meantime, money is being burned by the bureaucratic demands.

Because the vehicles were kept outside, $3000 had been spent to fit the Invercargill yard with power supplies to keep the radios charged, sump oil warm and everything needed for a fast response, he said.

“It’s just embarrassing. We are spending public money on this.”

Oh, and it seems this is not just a Southland problem.

There are about 15 stations throughout the country in the same situation.

Fire Service operations and training director Paul McGill said of the 77 stations with fulltime paid staff throughout the country, 15 were yet to be fitted with the systems. It was expected all work would be complete within six months, he said.

So what has the bloody New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union got to say about this nonsense?

The normal bleating you get from trade unions.

President Steve Warner is saying the union had asked the Fire Service seven years ago to fit extraction units to stations that did not have them.

Fed up with the wait, the union issued a directive to leave trucks outside until the extraction fans were installed, for the welfare of its members, he said.

Prolonged exposure to diesel fumes could be dangerous, in some cases causing cancer, Mr Warner said.

Fighting fires can be – and is – dangerous, too.

Alf wonders if this Warner wally can tell us how many fire fighters have died fighting fires in the past 100 years and how many have died from cancer incurred by parking fire appliances inside fire stations.

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