Wānaka Search & Rescue (SAR) has been awarded $30,000 in the latest round of the Central Lakes Trust (CLT) financial grants.
Wānaka SAR is a volunteer organisation that depends entirely on grants and donations.
“The Central Lakes Trust has been our major funder for nearly 20 years, and this year, like others, their grants will go to a combination of gear and training,” said lifetime SAR member Phillip Melchior.
“The gear requirements this year range from establishing 'grab and go' packs for avalanche response - packs which are equipped for a responder to spend up to 24 hours above the snowline and which are always kept packed a ready; a 'go pro' for the river rescue team which can operate underwater, which would have been useful in locating and recovering the body of Stephanie Simpson from deep in a canyon pool a year ago; replacement down jackets and head torches for both the alpine and subalpine teams; to new computers for the incident management team,” said Melchior.
“Importantly, the CLT grant also allows us to use its funding to offset the cost of training, mostly for helicopters and advanced first aid. We use helicopters in more than 90 per cent of our responses, and volunteers each year have to train in things like getting in and out of a hovering helicopter, to doing a one-skid landing on steep terrain, as well as strop training and specialist strop (human long-line) rescue techniques. While the use of helicopters operationally is funded by either the Police or the Rescue Coordination Centre, we have to meet the costs of training ourselves,” he said.
Read edition 1023 of the Wānaka Sun here.