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Time to remember fire fighters and others

Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, 8th April 2008

Time to remember fire fighters and others

An independent MP applauds Westpac Bank and the positive media response to the loss of the Waikato fire fighter.

Gordon Copeland says the tragic death of the fire fighter and injuries to others highlights the unique danger the profession, and others face in their day to day work environment.

“It’s a time to reflect on the role these and other service personnel play in protecting us and society, and to remember those who fall victim of work place accidents,” said Mr Copeland.

The Kiwi Party candidate says that as with police, armed services and other workers who operate in high risk employment situations, some jobs are more dangerous than others. Their families must feel the stress.

“I had a friend who lost a son-in-law in a work place accident fire and explosion so I can imagine the grief those close to the fire fighters must be feeling.”

He says the media and Westpac Bank’s response is entirely appropriate. “I hope the same thought will be extended to others who work in similar environments.”

The near six year politician says a member of his team, in a previous job, once worked closely with fire fighters and he has been told that the type of training they receive is unique. “I’m told their instructors and training facilities can never fully replicate the risks fire fighters face, so they set out to make the training of cadets as hard and as unpleasant as possible.”

Meanwhile Mr Copeland criticised initial media and Fire Service head office reaction to the disaster. “Even when a senior Hamilton fire fighter was saying sprinklers would not have saved the fire fighters, due to the explosion, some media and head office fire service personnel were persisting with attacking the building owners.”

He also criticised initial TV reports that Waikato Hospital were not coping. “In a blind dash to get a scoop, TV reporters were announcing mass casualties beyond the capability of the hospital. It would only have taken a quick call to the hospital, who strongly denied the report, to clarify the situation. Waikato Hospital is one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere and to suggest they weren’t coping is a nonsense.”


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