In September this year Wānaka Volunteer Fire Brigade Road Crash Rescue competed in the World Rescue Challenge in La Rochelle, France, and would like to thank all those who helped make the adventure possible.
Businesswoman and volunteer firefighter Jodie Rainsford said,“There were so many incredibly generous people that not only gave us money but also time and help to fundraise to get us there. We had such a fantastic time and learnt a lot, it really was a once in a lifetime experience that we are all so grateful to have been able to go on.”
Wānaka Road Rescue Team is made up of six members of the Wānaka Volunteer Fire Brigade: team leader, Tony Wellman; medics Jodie Rainsford and Jarrod Wellman; and technicals Travis Purnell, Mark Strang and Rob Thorp.
The team trains almost every Sunday with damaged cars, or those ‘destined for the wreckers’, to simulate a real-life scenario and practise techniques.
Roughly 20 cars are used for team training sessions each year, which are kindly donated by the Wānaka community.
“The first few days were spent at the Holmatro Factory in Amsterdam which is where they manufacture the 'jaws of life’. These guys have some amazing technology and knowledge that they shared with us. Especially helpful was the information on electric cars which are becoming more popular and will be a new challenge for us. We then headed to La Rochelle in France for four days of competition.” said Rainsford. “Although the competition was very different from what we were used to, it was still fantastic to meet so many teams from around the world and share and learn with them. Again, thank you so much for all of the help and donations that we received we are so grateful and could not have gone without it.”.
Wānaka Volunteer Fire Brigade receives around 200 calls a year, with a third of these being motor vehicle accidents.