Emergency services step up
by Andy Bryenton
Behind the greater emergency, which is the coronavirus pandemic, the possibility for more conventional accidents and incidents goes on. That’s why it’s good to know that our local volunteer fire brigades have reaffirmed their commitment to helping save lives in our community, even during the lockdown.
It’s business as usual for the firefighters among our friends and neighbours, who ask that everyone respects the rules during this crisis to help ensure that they are called away from self-isolation as little as possible. A fire ban is still in place for the Kaipara region, meaning that, despite the unprecedented circumstances in which we find ourselves, fires are still unable to be lit.
As a voluntary organisation, our local brigades are not obligated by contract or given paid remuneration to help out as they do, often being the first on the scene even in conventional times. Similar thoughts go out to St John ambulance crews, who are by definition on the very front lines of this pandemic. First responders from St John are prepared to do what must be done in the public’s best interest. Meanwhile, the organisation has shifted to online teaching methods to continue educating citizens about first aid through the crisis.
Finally, police personnel will remain visible and on call to ensure that the rule of law and order remains strong during the level four period of self-isolation. Commissioner Peter Bush, the operational leader of the police, is one of the small team who is handling the lockdown protocol here, and the use of police and even defence force staff to enforce the lockdown has been discussed.
“I can understand that seeing an increase in presence by police and our military may not be what we’re used to in New Zealand, but they will be working together,” said the prime minister.
Authorities have the power to enforce the lockdown if they see people flouting the rules. Commissioner Bush said: “It’s about education and encouragement, we don’t want to get into a place where we have to enforce these directions, but we will if required.”