Firefighters adjust to new normal

Firefighters are having to take extra precautions when attending callouts during lockdown....
Firefighters are having to take extra precautions when attending callouts during lockdown. Displaying some of their extra PPE are (from left) Qualified Firefighter Sam Shannon, Firefighter Alex Schofield and Station Officer Jim Smith. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Callouts might be down, but Dunedin firefighters are finding ways to keep busy during lockdown.

Dunedin Senior Station Officer Simon Smith said callouts had dropped since lockdown came into effect, although it was busier than during Alert Level 4 last year.

However, they still had some jobs to attend, from kitchen fires to medical calls.

To keep themselves busy in between calls, firefighters were studying, checking gear, and doing in-house training.

‘‘You do have to manage it though. It can be quite a long day,’’ he said.

As well as a change in workload, firefighters were taking more precautionary measures to reduce the risk of catching or spreading the virus.

They were wearing masks and glasses when dealing with the public. If they were called to a medical job where they were in close contact with people, they also wore gowns and gloves, like paramedics.

They were also trying to limit cross-over between shifts and movement across stations.

Stations around the city had bubbles — for example, Dunedin and St Kilda, and Willowbank and Roslyn. Firefighters would only work within their station bubbles.

‘‘At changeover we change over as crews, so we wait until the six of us are here and the other six will go off and we’ll come on.

‘‘Before that crew goes off they do a full clean of the station.’’

The restrictions would stay the same after the shift to Level 3 next week, he said.

Add a Comment