Festive hunt has serious purpose

Last updated 16:00 28/11/2012

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Marlborough search and rescue volunteers were out in Blenheim last night on the hunt for missing Christmas decorations.

The 15 members of the Alzheimers Search Group went from house to house on Fyffe St in Witherlea looking for 14 Christmas tree baubles as part of an urban search and rescue exercise.

Although it was a fun exercise group co-ordinator Russell Montgomery said it was also important training as urban searches were becoming more common for land search and rescue teams in New Zealand.

The team had done three urban searches in the last four months, mostly looking for lost dementia patients or children. Four or five urban searches a year were not uncommon in Marlborough.

During the exercise five groups of three were given an hour and a half to find two baubles, representing lost people Mr and Mrs Bauble.

People in the street had been supportive and residents in almost half the houses helped make the exercise more real by playing roles such as suspicious homeowners who would not let the searchers in. Two of the 14 baubles were not found, one drowned in a pool and one stayed hidden in a garage, but Mr Montgomery said the exercise reinforced the importance of doing the job right.

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- The Marlborough Express

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