3 Dec 2018

Fire and Emergency investigates 'very rare' assault on firefighters

4:35 pm on 3 December 2018

Fire and Emergency says it's investigating whether more can be done to stop staff from being assaulted.

A firefighter on scene at an incident. 6 July 2016.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

This comes after two volunteer firefighters, who were helping at the scene of a car crash in Waihi, were punched by drunk people in the area.

Emergency services were called to a two-car crash at Waihi Beach about 7pm on Saturday night.

Fire and Emergency said drunk people tried to attack an ambulance officer and two firefighters were punched after stepping in to help.

People and capability director Brendan Nally from the agency said they will be investigating whether they could have done anything differently.

"If someone was hurt, it gets a safety and wellbeing investigation, so that is what's going to happen in this one," he said.

"[These] investigations require discussing what happened with everyone and it requires specialised people to do it, so, it takes a bit of time to bolt these teams together."

Mr Nally said he was extremely proud of the way the firefighters responded to the incident.

He said they received minor injuries such as a bleeding nose.

Mr Nally said this was a serious but rare event of physical assault.

"I've [done] 27 years of firefighting and I can tell you that it's very rare," he said.

"In fact this is the only one this calendar year that we've got recorded."

"The team is now going back through a data probe over the last ten years. They haven't completed that yet but I can tell you it's extremely rare that there's a physical assault on firefighters."

The police are also investigating.