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March 2011
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Taking rope rescue to new heights

A simulated rescue on a 40 metre cliff in Titahi Bay, Porirua.
Photo: Wayne Gray

Wellington police search and rescue (SAR) and ambulance staff took their rope rescue skills to dizzying new heights in January, as they completed the Royal New Zealand Police College’s first Technical Rope Rescue course.

Technical rope instructor Wayne Gray, who ran the course, says the training is helping develop a multi-agency emergency services response to rope rescue incidents in the greater Wellington area. “This will ensure effective, cohesive team work and better outcomes,” he says.

Two paramedic staff attended from Wellington Free Ambulance, while the police staff came from a range of backgrounds including general duties, community and road policing.

They form part of a wider SAR group that responds to any situation requiring specialist rescue skills.

While the course was based at the Police College, practical exercises used many sites around the greater Wellington area.

Scaling Wellington Central Police Station.
Photo: Wayne Gray

During the programme, attendees earned a number of NZQA unit standards towards the National Certificate in Technical Rope Rescue.

“Participants were pushed to the limits over a nine-day period, covering 90 hours of intense training,” Wayne says.

“They worked in a range of environmental and weather conditions, set up a range of technical rope systems, and hauled stretchers up and down vertical walls, cliff faces and other structures. A wide range of skills were covered to prepare them for rescuing victims in inaccessible locations.

“The many simulated exercises prepared the rescuers to perform the lowest risk method of rescue, and to make sound decisions in such a high risk activity.”

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