Services unite for day

CARALISE TRAYES
Last updated 05:00 07/12/2012
Staying Alive
BIG ATTRACTION: Staying Alive attracted thousands to Albany last Saturday to see emergency service displays and entertainment.
Staying Alive
CHRISTMAS CHEER: Santa at his grotto was happy to meet children and have photos taken.
Staying Alive
FUTURE FIGHTER: Kaito Tanaka, 2, from Whangaparaoa could be a future firefighter. He tried out the fire truck at Staying Alive in Albany.

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A combined effort from emergency services turned the Staying Alive event into a magical day.

The NZ Fire Service, St John, police, Civil Defence and Urban Search and Rescue pulled together for the public display last Saturday at Westfield Albany, attracting about 15,000 throughout the day and 40,000 to the evening entertainment.

"It was a fantastic day," NZ Fire Service planning and intelligence officer Terry Hewitt says.

"We thought we might have got a few more people come but it was still up on numbers from previous similar events we have held."

Both professional and volunteer firefighters demonstrated their skills with live displays, including the jaws of life and patient extractions.

Civil Defence and USAR groups had rescue demonstrations with a high angle rescue team ‘saving people trapped' on the shopping centre's roof. Police had a range of departments at the event, including the armed offenders squad and police dogs.

Coastguard gave boat rides around the Albany lake.

"It was great having the groups all together showcasing what we do. It is a benefit to the public, and creates a good awareness. Feedback was really good," Mr Hewitt says.

The Fire Service will review the event and decide what to do next year.

"It has been an annual event but we have to look at it each year to judge the benefit of it," Mr Hewitt says.

The evening included entertainment from groups including Titanium and finished with a fireworks display.

"It was the first time we have worked in partnership with such a big organisation like Westfield. They were fantastic."

Mr Hewitt says most of the groups there comprise volunteers, which are always in demand.

"If people are interested in helping they should contact their local ambulance, fire station or Coastguard to get more information.

"From a volunteer perspective no job is ever the same. It can also be an interesting and highly motivating career."

A friendly reminder was also given at the event: "Keep looking while you're cooking, and stay safe over summer."

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- North Harbour News

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