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Your checklist
  • Get low

    Smoke is poisonous and more deadly than flames.

    If you breathe smoke for more than a few breaths it can kill you.

  • Be fast

    A house fire can kill you in less than three minutes.

    Don't spend time trying to save possessions.

  • Close doors

    A closed door buys you time.

    It slows down the spread of fire, giving you more time to get to safety.

  • Get out - stay out!

    People have died by going back into a fire.

    Don't leave the meeting place to go back inside for any reason.

Fire & Emergency New Zealand

NZ firefighters awarded medals for service in Australian bushfires

NZ firefighters awarded medals for service in Australian bushfires

Firefighters throughout New Zealand have been honoured for their service by the Australian Government with the Australia National Emergency Medal for helping battle massive Australian bushfires.

The New Zealand contingent of 208 firefighters who travelled to Australia in the summer of 2019/20 included people from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, the Department of Conservation, forestry company partners, and members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

The majority of the contingent personally received their Australia National Emergency Medal with a Bushfires 19/20 Clasp at one of four official ceremonies across the country, hosted by Her Excellency the Australian High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu.

Today’s ceremony in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland was the last of the four hosted by the High Commissioner, with the previous events being held at the Australian High Commission in Wellington, NZ Defence Force Base Ohakea and in Christchurch.

Fire and Emergency NZ National Commander Russell Wood says the Australia National Emergency Medal, for which service must be considered extraordinary, has never been awarded to members of Fire and Emergency NZ before.

"This is a very rare and special honour that the Australian government has extended to us," Russell Wood says. "It reflects that closeness between our countries, that when faced with extreme adversity, we will do everything we can to help each other.

"The bushfires in Australia in 2019 and 2020 were catastrophic, and we were glad we could be there to help them.

"I am immensely proud of our people, who responded to the call so selflessly and put their time and energy into fighting one of the biggest wildfire disasters of our time.

"It was a dangerous environment for everyone to be in, and they showed true Kiwi spirit in their sustained efforts under challenging conditions. As a nation, we can be very proud of our fine firefighters."

Among the 53 firefighters honoured today, 38 are from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, two from the New Zealand Army, eight from the New Zealand Air Force, two from Department of Conservation, and three from forestry company partners.