New Zealand Response Team - NZRT 18

Team Leader Update July 2015

Good Afternoon Team,

It has been a while since my last update so I thought I would give you a brief update on things happening behind the scenes. Last weekend we had our first social event of the year, this was well attended and everyone had a great night bowling and playing laser strike. A big thanks to Whaits who organised the evening and the exceptional price of the deal, thanks Whaits! We are looking to hold another social night within the next two months, the suggestion was either Go Karts or Paint ball, let me know if you are interested.

We are half way through the year already and had two deployments since my last update, one to assist Police and Landsar at Catchpool and the other due to the flooding in the Hutt Valley. Both of these deployments have been well attended and the response to both of these activations has been quick. There were many lessons learnt out of both deployments and I think these have been thrashed out enough during the informal discussions post each event, so I won't harp on about them.

There are a number of external courses coming up in the second half of the year. The swift water technicians are undertaking their recertification which is required every two years  and couple of team members will be undertaking the swift water responder course later in the year. This will also provide an opportunity for those swift water responders to undertake their recertification as well. 

At the end of July a number of team members will be undertaking a course on Suburban searching along with members from LandSAR and Police, this course will provide those team members with formal training in suburban searching. Suburban searching is an operation the team is getting called out to assist with more often and this course will be a great qualification for us moving forward. Thanks Ants for arranging this!

For our newer team members we have USAR Awareness coming up, the theory day is being held on the 11th of July starting at 9am and the practical day is being held on the 8th of August at 9am. This is a requirement to meet "orange card status" and to become a fully qualified team member, so it is important that you all attend. We also need a number of qualified and senior responders to assist with both of these days, if you are available to assist can you please let me know at your earliest convenience.

Cam recently sent out the revised training programme, have a good look at this and check to see what courses you are running. If you have any problems with obtaining material, talk to Cam in the first instance and he will be able to direct you to a good source of info, if you are unable to make the training then you must swap your training with someone else. Now for the gripe, you knew I would fit it in here somewhere; for those team members that were not at the last training I re-emphasised the need for our gear in the store room to be put back properly and for the store room to be left tidy. We are after one team member to assist Cam in the running of the store room and ensure it is keep in an orderly fashion, anyone interested in taking up this role should email me.

Last month the team purchased a whole heap of equipment for the swift water team, this included pulleys, a quick release, karabiners and an assortment of tapes and slings. This gear will greatly improve the cache already being held by the team and can be utilised by the team for other operations such as lowers and high lines. 

As some of you are aware Darryn has taken three months leave from the team to begin a new work project, over this time Whaits and Keri will be acting DeputyTeam Leaders. So if you are unable to get in contact with me, your next point of contact is either Whaits or Keri. 

That's it from me, have a great weekend and we will see you all on Monday.

Thanks Team

Glen Thompson

Team Leader Update February 2015

Apologies for the lack of updates recently, it has been a busy couple of weeks. The year is already well underway with two trainings already under our belt. Since I took over as Team Leader I have had time over the holiday period to take stock, and look at how far the team has come and look to where we want to go. This year is going to be full of potential for us with the formation of our trust, the national NZRT Accreditation Document release and I would like to have MOU’s solidified with Police, Fire and Ambulance, so it’s going to be a full on year and we will need a number of people to help achieve our goals. I will also be working with the management team to start looking at a five year vision which will have input from everyone in the team, so start thinking about where you would like to see us in five years’ time. If you have any thoughts please send them through.

 Shortly we will be running the start of the “Orange Card Status” courses, first up is General Rescue which will be run over four Thursday evenings. We will require the assistance of qualified responders to run these sessions, please look at the training schedule and advise if you are able to assist.

 We also have Day One of the Secondary Schools Rescue Training Programme coming up in March. If you haven’t done so already can you please advise Dave which days you will be able to attend.
I had a meeting last Wednesday with a representative from Wellington Free Ambulance. This was a very productive meeting as we worked out how we can work more closely together in emergency incidents and in training. There are a couple of members from there Rescue Team that hold a swiftwater rescue qualification, we have opened up our training days to these members and will also be offering up places for their Rescue Team members on future Rescue 3 New Zealand courses.

We will also have three members from their Rescue Squad join the probationary members on the upcoming General Rescue, USAR Cat 1A courses. Wellington Free is also looking into running a first aid course for the team in April. We also had a discussion over medics in their Rescue Squad joining our team for exercises and emergency incidents; while this is still in the discussion stage and has not yet been finalised it will provide the team with further trained medics that regularly practise their clinical skills on the road.  There will also be the option for our current medics to gain further clinical skills on the road with an ambulance team.

In other news we are currently sourcing two swiftwater throw bags which will be provided to Lower Hutt Police and will go in two of their front line vehicles. Along with the throw bags we will be providing training to their frontline staff on how to use them. We are currently pencilling this training in for Saturday the 7th of March, and we would like all of the team to participate in this training. Although this will not be a compulsory training it would be appreciated if all team members could make themselves available for this date. We are also taking this opportunity to get some publicity for the team.

While we were all taking a break over the holiday season Nic has been busily beavering away on our new team website, . It is looking great and has a members only area were we have posted manuals, documents and in future will post previous training documents. I would like to thank Nic for his hard work so far and I invite you to send feedback to him about the site.

Today I voted in agreement on the draft NZRT accreditation document on behalf of the team. There have been a few politics since the Team Leader/Team Managers conference in August 2014, but the document has progressed with a number of changes. So far there are three teams that have accepted the document, one that has blocked and many more still yet to vote. The team that has blocked the document does not agree that light rescue should be the document that gets to MCDEM first as they undertake other operations. What this team doesn’t seem to understand is that this document has taken many years to get this far and everyone is pushing to get it across the line before other strands will be offered under the same MCDEM Directors Guidelines.

Tomorrow Darryn and I will be meeting with the head of Trentham Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal Squadron (EOD) and the head of EOD nationally. We are hoping to solidify previous discussions around training and use of their equipment at incidents. So I will keep you all updated on how this progresses.

Also over the holiday season Traci resigned from the team after five years of service. Traci was a great asset to the team and her input will be greatly missed. Traci participated in many of the teams operations including two trips to Christchurch and numerous suburban searches. She was also involved in the creation of a number of training plans as Training Manager and kept an eye on us a Team Safety.

Traci we wish you all the best for you future endeavours and we thank you for your commitment to the team and our community over the past five years.

We also had Jonathan resign from the team after the passing of his wife Talia. Johnathan has moved back to his hometown of Kerikeri where he is being supported by members of his family. Jonathan was a great team member and medic. He was doing great work as Equipment Officer and had attended a number of operations with the team prior to heading to Antarctica for work mid last year. Jonathan we are extremely saddened by the loss of Talia and we hope spending time with you family can alleviate some of the loss you are currently dealing with.

On the 29th of January we held an information evening for potential new recruits; we had 6 out of 18 that registered their interest in attending the evening. So far we have 4 attending and assessment evening this Thursday to see if they have what it takes to join our number.
That’s it from me for now, have a great end of the week and we will see you all on Monday for some Rope and Ladder training. 

Upcoming events and training:

16th February – Regular Training Day (Rope and Ladder Skills: Learn your knots and when they are used. Using ladders safely)
21st February – Swiftwater Training (Fixed anchors, dead man anchors, tension diagonals & mechanical advantage systems)
5th of March – Day One (Secondary Schools Rescue Programme)