Our Chief Executive Rhys Jones recently made a flying visit to Rotorua to meet with Fire and Emergency personnel and Philips Search and Rescue Trust staff.

The Trust serve a number of communities in the central North Island, performing search and rescue and emergency air ambulance response.

Fire and Emergency crews in the Central Lakes Area have a long standing relationship the Trust which developed into the current partnership four years ago. The team has five fire crew members that are able to deploy with the helicopter.

“The fire crew member acts as the eyes for the pilot to quickly assess what is needed at an incident. This works especially well with incidents like road traffic accidents in isolated areas. This is a shining example of Fire and Emergency working in partnership with the local rescue helicopter staff,” says Rhys.

“We know there are other areas of the country, like the Hawkes Bay, where there are strong partnerships like this. The next step is to look at what is working best and how that can be applied to other parts of the country.”

Fire and Emergency is a high user of helicopter contractors, especially in rural areas. With the merger of urban and rural we are likely to see an increased use of helicopters, particularly as a way of quickly deploying crews to an emergency.

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