Of the 300 recruits who come through the training center each year, 200 are volunteer firefighters
By Clare Sziranyi, Nine to Noon
A former professional firefighter recruit received serious burns and blistering to both hands during a live fire training exercise because the trainer failed to identify that his gloves were too small.
The accident occurred in February last year at Fire and Emergency New Zealand’ (FENZ) National Training Centre in Rotorua.
An official investigation into the accident found 56 other burn injuries have been sustained in a five-year period, partly due to a lack of a clear, written safety briefing to be delivered ahead of the highly risky live fire exercise.
This contrasts with FENZ figures released to Nine to Noon under the Official Information Act showing just 29 recruits have sustained burn injuries during training in the last five years – which FENZ says were mostly minor and treated with basic first aid.
The former recruit said in his intake of 24, half sustained burns, three of them serious, but none were reported for fear of not passing the course.
“If you miss a half a day or a day of this intensive course you put yourself behind the eight-ball and you’re made aware of that from the start of the course.”
He said the accident happened in a live container fire exercise, where temperatures could get up to 600 to 700 degrees Celsius.
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