Our busy Summer period is almost finished, but fine weather over the upcoming Otago Anniversary weekend and Easter, could prove a busy time for our volunteers.
Beach patrols by our local Surf Life Saving clubs have also ended, or end in the next few weeks. The clubs have done an excellent job over the last few months and the amazing weather has meant some very busy days.
Over the last few months, Dunedin MSAR has also been involved in working with the Dunedin East Rotary Club and is working hard to promote our organisation to the wider community. More information below, so keep reading!
The Water Rescue Squad & The Duck Race
On a very warm and sunny Sunday 15th March, 3 of our water rescue squad volunteers assisted at the annual Dunedin East Rotary Charity Duck Race.
Brian Benn, Nick Wells and Paul Sharp donned their wetsuits and slipped into the Waters of the Leith to rescue any stray ducks which didn't make it to the finish line.
Dunedin MSAR has been very fortunate to receive $2000 from Dunedin East Rotary for the purchase of 2 wetsuits, so when asked to assist in the Duck Race, we thought it was a great way to be involved in this awesome event.
We look forward to being involved next year!
Wanaka Swift Water Training Weekend
In October last year, members of the Police search and rescue team and the water rescue squad headed to Wanaka for a South Island advanced river rescue workshop. We arrived in Wanaka on Friday evening and headed straight to the new SAR headquarters for a look around and a talk on what the participants wanted to achieve, operations and the problems that some areas faced. Saturday morning presented a fresh start of 6 degrees. First after breakfast we were off to the Hawea river white water park for some basic river swimming to warm up with, then into some scenarios. The scenarios ranged from a person stuck directly under the bridge, setting up a zipline to ferry rescuers and patients across a reasonably swift section of the river, to live bait rescues, and using a tethered raft as a rescue platform for someone stuck in a wier or hard to access place. Participants in this workshop came from a variety of backgrounds, kayakers, raft guides, alpine cliff rescue team members, Fire Service and the Police. After the day was completed we were back to the headquarters for what could only be described as an epic barbeque and de-brief of the days events, and a early nights sleep. The next day dawned and we were heading to the Motatapu Gorge. An area well known for being notorious and a number of operations have been conducted there in the past. At this area we were split into 4 teams, and given a separate scenario to work through for a set amount of time. Some of these were; raising an unconscious victim 10 meters up and out of the vertical gorge, abseiling and ascending along with practising high angle rescue techniques to access the further branches of the gorge as rescuers have had to previously abseil in to access patients and raising a tired swimmer out of the gorge as well.
All in all it was a great weekend. We had the chance to practise skills we don't often have to put into use, think outside the square, getting to know who else and what other teams may be coming to back us up or we may be going to help when the pager goes off, and working in areas we may be called to. Thanks must go to New Zealand Land SAR who covered all the costs, and Roy Bayley from Wanaka Land SAR for arranging this workshop. This is expected to be a bi annual event and we look forward to being involved again. Rhys McAlevey
Quiz Night at The Kensington Tui Clubrooms
After a hugely successful quiz night last year, we are excited to be hosting another quiz night at The Kensington Tui Clubrooms on Thursday 16th April at 7pm.
Tickets are $5 per person with teams of 4-6 people.
There will be raffles between each quiz round and we have some amazing prizes from local companies who have sponsored us this year. If your company, or someone you know, would like to sponsor a raffle, please contact Alli.
Tickets will sell out fast so get your team together and contact Alli, Rhys or Don so tickets can be put aside for you.
Water Rescue Squad Training
Our coastline between St Clair and Blackhead is rugged and uncompromising. There are few options if your days fishing goes bad, if your motor won’t start or worse still you unexpectedly end up in the water. On a nice day the waves crash against the cliffs, in a southerly, the swells explode and climb 10 metres before dropping back into the ocean for another unsucessful attempt at making land fall.
From a rescue perspective there are also very few options, given the marginal survival time the helicopter or the IRB are all that DNMSAR could offer to transport members of our Water rescue team into the search area.
Readiness to respond has many aspects. Getting the right people in the right place at the right time requires Callout systems, Experience, Equipment and training all coming together. On Thursday evening the 12th of March, members of our water rescue team joined with surf life saving club members for a wild ride down the south coast. Bruce Calder from DNLSAR came along to refamiliarise himself with the coastal cliffs.
To begin the exercise, Two IRB’s from St Kilda waited off shore as the team entered the water from the base a cliff at second beach. The swim to the IRB’s was a good warm up for what was to come. After a short IRB ride we stopped to look at the site of a previous rescue where a Hang Glider crashed below Cargills castle.
As the swells were gaining strength we swam ashore to a remote beach, getting pushed around by the currents and up close and personal with 50 metre cliffs reminded us all of the power of the sea. Back on the boats we eyed the “hole in the rock” but wisely decided against running it.
After transferring some crew members, one boat landed at a remote spot while the second boat acted as the safety boat. The trip home was another reminder of the challenging environment. Punching into the swells it took three times as long to get back to St Clair.
Familiarisation with this area that has generated many SAR callouts over the years is an essential part of the WRS team training. Thanks to Radar for putting together an enjoyable and challenging training session.
Save the date - Combined SAREX
Dunedin MSAR will be hosting a SAREX on Sunday 19th April. This SAREX will be a great opportunity for our volunteers to work together along with other agencies including the Police, Land SAR and Coastguard.
The SAREX will use the new Brighton Surf Life Saving Club as a base with the SAREX based along the coastline south of Dunedin. More information will be provided at the beginning of April.
Wetsuit Sponsorship - Update
Over the past year, we have been working to gain sponsorship to purchase 10 new wetsuits for the Water Rescue Squad. These wetsuits are approx. $850 each and are a huge equipment cost for our organisation.
We have been very lucky to have some great sponsors on board so far but are still looking for sponsors for 4 more wetsuits to be purchased over the next 6 months.
Sponsors so far include:
Otago Community Trust
Todd Mudie Group
Dunedin East Rotary Club
If you know someone who would like to sponsor a wetsuit, please get in contact with our funding coordinator Alli for a copy of our sponsorship proposal.
Working with Ignite Consultants at University of Otago
Ignite Consultants are a group of students who apply and are then selected to work with a charity each semester to put together a business plan, funding proposal or similar project, for use by the organisation.
We are very excited to have been chosen to work with the Ignite Consultants during the 1st semester this year.
Ignite will be reviewing Dunedin MSAR's processes, recent organisation changes and may select to review our strategic plan for the coming 3 - 5 years.
The executive committee will work closely with the consultants and the final project will be presented to members upon completion in May / June.
Monday 23rd March
Otago Anniversary Day
Friday 3rd April to Monday 6th April
(Are you away for these public holidays? Please email Rowan with your availability!)
Thursday 9th April
General Meeting, 7pm at the Dunedin Central Police Station
Thursday 16th April
Quiz Night, 7pm at the Kensington Tui Clubrooms
Sunday 19th April
Combined SAREX - more details to come
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