Fire trucks must slow down or punish the police, warns the trade union

Firefighters on their way to emergency calls have heard from their trade unions that they have to slow down or punish the police.

Serious concerns have been expressed about the use of J-rated tires fitted to fire engines and that have only been assessed for a maximum speed of 100 km / h, according to the New Zealand Professional Firefighters Union.

This is despite the fact that fire engines can travel with a maximum of 105 km / h under the normal emergency measures of Fire and Emergency NZ.

After advice from the police, the union now says that drivers who use fire engines with J-tires take the risk of being prosecuted if they exceed the safety limit of 100 km / h.

The situation has raised warnings that people could die if fire fighters are delayed during emergency measures.

However, FENZ says that the J-rated tires are safe and work with the police to get more clarity on this issue.

The local secretary of the union, John Waldow, said that J-rated tires were cheaper than the factory-fitted M-rated tires that were rated for speeds up to 130 km / h.

He warned that the use of the cheaper tires would result in delayed arrival in emergency situations and "any delay in response from fire engines or rescue vehicles could eventually lead to loss of life".

Region 1, brand region manager Kerry Gregory, said that the difference between 100 km / h and 105 km / h was not significant when traveling to emergencies.

"Especially in the urban areas where these tires are used, where speeds of 100 km / h are not sustained for a long time".

The union said to delay its recommendations, followed by advice from a policeman in the Police's Commercial Safety Team.

The officer's written advice states that firefighters using fire engines with J-tires should be aware of the limitations of the vehicle and that this would have consequences for drivers who have exceeded the maximum speed of the tires.

"Simply put, if a device has tires with" J ", the driver has the responsibility to drive under 100 km / h regardless of the circumstances.

"One hundred km / h is the maximum speed for a tire with" J "speed value and this speed should not be exceeded when loaded or unloaded," said the officer.

Despite the officer's advice and the union's recommendations, Gregory said that FENZ had received advice from the manufacturers who said the tires were safe.

"If there is a problem with compliance with the legal requirements through our use of these tires, we will no longer use them.

"In the meantime, as mentioned earlier, I have instructed our staff that there are no circumstances where I expect our devices to be driven at speeds in excess of 100 km / h if drivers feel insecure about safety," said Gregory.

A spokesman for the police told us Herald safety was their main concern, for emergency services and commercial vehicles on the road.

"It is especially important that our rescue vehicles are safe for emergency services, because when they respond to incidents, they often travel at high speeds.

"We can confirm that an opinion was requested from a member of the police, but this was not legal advice.

The police were now talking to FENZ about this issue, the spokesman said.

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