News & Events

Rescue team at the ready

Friday October 6 2017

As we gear up for New Zealand’s Get Ready Week, we thought we’d take a moment to reflect on the work of Palmerston North’s rescue emergency support team (REST).

Photo shows search and rescue volunteers carrying out a training exercise.

Palmerston North's REST volunteers train to be ready when disaster strikes.

This highly skilled group of volunteers provides a range of emergency services under the guidance of PNCC Emergency Management Officer Jock Robinson, carrying out water and high angle rope rescue and light urban search and rescue when required, as well as standing by to support the Manawatū region in civil defence emergencies.

In the last year alone the team has tended to a range of callouts, ranging from bad weather reconnaissance to rescuing a cow trapped in a river.

Volunteering not only means a significant training commitment but can mean dropping everything at short notice to respond to an emergency.

REST members come from all walks of life. The team includes a dentist, tradesmen and IT professionals, and several business owners.

Mike Denton, 41 is one of 10 new recruits welcomed into the team this year. A trained arborist and groundsman at Massey University, Mike’s been a member of Massey’s veterinary emergency response team for two years.

“It really is like one big family. Everyone is incredibly supportive. It’s a great way to help the community, meet new people and make some connections,” he says.

Brian Donaldson is the longest serving REST member – over the past 20 years he’s given an unprecedented amount of hours in the form of callouts and training, constantly upskilling himself to the required standards. Brian was presented with a Long Service Award by the Minister of Civil Defence, Nathan Guy at this year’s national Civil Defence & Emergency Management Conference.

“The commitment of these volunteers is outstanding,” says Jock Robinson. “REST members are dedicated to what they do, train extremely hard and provide a vital service to our community.

“A big thank you must also go to the many businesses and employers who enable their workers to undertake training and attend emergencies at short notice.”

Graphic for 2017 campaign: In an emergency stay safe, stay informed.

Next week is Get Ready Week, 9-15 October. The week is all about making sure kiwis are ready for emergencies. This year’s theme is stay safe, stay informed. During the week we’ll be promoting the different ways you can stay informed during an emergency.