Hats off to city's emergency services staff

SASHA BORISSENKO
Last updated 12:58 14/04/2014
car meets house
VIRGINIA WOOLF/FAIRFAX NZ
IF THE CAP FITS: Tasman police district commander Superintendent Richard Chambers is about to lose his hat to his daughter Macy Chambers, 3, at the First Responders parade at the top of Trafalgar St.

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He may be the top cop but somebody else stole his hat and the show at the big parade.

Tasman district commander Superintendent Richard Chambers' 3-year-old daughter, Macy, decided his hat was a good fit when they were at Nelson's inaugural First Responders Parade on Saturday.

More than 100 emergency services personnel - from police, fire, St John Ambulance, Civil Defence, Nelson Surf Life Saving, Nelson Volunteer Coastguard, Territorials, Red Cross, Maori Wardens, Nelson Community Patrol and Richmond Community Patrol - joined the parade along Trafalgar St to the Church Steps.

It was a wonderful way to recognise the first responders' work, said Chambers.

He also used the opportunity to thank the public for their support, saying public trust and confidence in the police in the top of the south was the highest of any district in the country. "We depend so much on public trust and confidence and we are privileged to have that support," he said.

The parade was also about showing that those involved in emergency services were real people, and many in the crowd were families of the first responders.

"It's good to show that behind the uniforms are real mums and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters doing what at times is a tough job.

"When I walked down the road leading my police staff, and people were lining the streets and clapping and cheering you, that made you feel really proud - proud because it's nice to have a reminder for our police staff to feel valued.

"Just the nature of the policing is such that you're not always everyone's friend. It's nice to be reminded you are valued."

Nelson Red Cross team leader Sandie Horne said the parade was an awesome chance to get to mix and mingle with other organisations.

"It is so nice for us to meet our peers. So often we work in the background and do not get the chance to meet everyone involved, even despite there being a multi-agency focus when it comes to emergency services."

Organiser Matt Lawrey said it was a wonderful day and he was really happy with the turnout.

All sorts of people came up to him saying how much they loved getting to meet Nelson's emergency services staff personally, he said.

People really understood the day was about recognising the people that did the hardest and most valuable work in the community.

The crowd also got a chance to see emergency work, ranging from demonstrations of police firing a Taser to fire fighters cutting up a car.

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The event went smoothly, despite a few fears, he said.

"When you organise a Taser firing, there are definitely a few variables to consider. I had a moment where I thought this could be a bit full on."

This week, Lawrey plans to meet with ambulance staff, police and other organisers to chat about the possibility of doing a parade again in the future.

It was the sort of event that should happen every two years so that it would not be too demanding on all the organisations involved.

Chambers said: "We would love to be involved again, it was a great occasion."

Photos, p6

- Nelson

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