Crash rescue team qualifies to compete in Australia

The Wanaka crash rescue team’s performances in the national competition earned it a place at the...
The Wanaka crash rescue team’s performances in the national competition earned it a place at the Australasian Rescue Challenge, to be held in Australia at the end of the month. Photo: Supplied
Wanaka's road crash rescue team has succeeded in its goal of qualifying for the Australasian Rescue Challenge for the first time, after a strong performance in the national competition.

The team, made up of six members of the Wanaka Volunteer Fire Brigade, finished sixth overall in the national competition held in Taranaki last month, gaining a wildcard entry to the Australasian competition to be held at Warragul, about an hour and a-half from Melbourne, at the end of this  month. Team members Jodie Rainsford and Jarrod Wellman also finished second in the trauma section of the competition.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer and team leader Tony Wellman said the competition results came as a shock.

"We were blown away on the night when they called our name out. We didn’t think we were going to go, that’s for sure."

"We went better than we thought."

It was the fourth year the team had been competing regionally and nationally, and Mr Wellman said it was unusual for a team to make it to the Australasian competition with less than six years’ experience.

"It’s normally six years before you get good at these competitions. After six years you usually know all the scenarios. We’re about two years ahead of schedule."

"We were just really consistent at everything."

He said the team had been told the national competition was "a lot tougher" than what they would face in Australia.

"It’s a very similar format, but apparently it’s not as hard, so we should do all right."

The skills learnt from taking part in the competitions would be able to be brought back to the brigade, Mr Wellman said.

"It brings a lot of skills that we don’t often practise a lot."

"But it gives us new ideas that could definitely help us out if we got a super tricky one [accident]."

The team will leave for Australia on July 25 and will compete over three days from July 27-29.

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