Christchurch Mosque Shootings

Fire and Emergency New Zealand

Christchurch Mosque Shootings

Last Friday was a sad time for all of us.  Many of those who were killed had been victims in their own countries. They came to NZ to find safety and a better life but now have become victims in our country. 

Our contribution to the Police response was small, but important.  We deployed our Remotely Piloted Air Systems to help with surveillance, we resourced Police with some Thermal Imaging Cameras and our Regional Co-ordination Centres were stood-up, and ensured that we were alert and that information flowed. We also offered first response support to St John to help with other medical calls as they were focused on helping the victims of the shooting, but we didn’t receive any medical calls during this time. Our command vehicles and their hazardous material equipment were also on stand-by if required. My thanks to those who deployed, were on duty or stand-by throughout the country. Well done. 

Throughout this tragic event, our concern was how we would balance ensuring that the public remained protected, while keeping our own people safe. To do this, we required our trucks and people to remain in their stations unless called out on a task. Once we knew that the threat had decreased, we decided that going back onto the streets was the best way to help and be there for our Christchurch community in a time of terrible need. This was a new situation for many and we will be conducting a review of our actions to learn from this situation. 

We are all processing this horrific event in our own separate ways. Please remember to take care of yourselves and that we have a range of support services available to you. I encourage you to access this if you need it. A full list of services can be found here on our portal

Someone brought extreme racial hatred into our country from the outside, but as our Prime Minister Jacinda Adern stated – that is not what New Zealand is or who New Zealanders are.  Within Fire and Emergency, we have been working to establish an environment where differences are accepted, welcomed and respected, where people can feel safe to be who they really are.  This is the time when we must live up to those values, more strongly than ever. We all need to strive to create a stronger environment of understanding and respect. 

For those of you within Fire and Emergency, who are from varying religions or ethnicities – you are welcome among us and an integral part of our whanau. 

For all of us, this is also a time to show the public what we stand for.  I ask you to please call by mosques and places of significance to other religions or racial groups and make it known that we welcome them in New Zealand, and that we will always be there to protect them.  That is what firefighters and firefighting organisations do – protect people, no matter who they are. 

We can do our bit to make New Zealand a stronger and safer place.  Now is the time to stand up.

 

Kia kaha, 

Rhys Jones