Whitianga takes out Australasian Road Rescue Challenge Event
The Whitianga Volunteer Fire Brigade are the overall winners of the Australasian Road Rescue Challenge event.
"Everyone stepped up, it was great to watch," team manager Roly Chaney said.
They battled it out with 20 teams from New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong over three days at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton.
Since joining the challenge in 2003, their best placing was third or fourth, and this team was "green".
They got together just prior to the North Island champs in February and it was also Nick Paillandi first time in the arena.
The team included team leader Spida Mangin, lead medic Julian Lee, second medic/technical Nick Paillandi and technical members Dallas Martin, Sean King and James Stops. There were also two other coaches, Kelvin Spence and Peter Mangin.
They had been training weekly since February. They competed in three scenarios, coming third place in the entrapment rescue, second in the controlled rescue and fourth in the time-critical entrapment rescue.
In other categories, the Whitianga medics came second overall, the technical team came second and team leader Spida Mangin won overall.
The team is now eligible to compete in the world competition to be held in South Africa next year.
Chaney said the 35-member Whitianga brigade would now be fundraising for the South African competition.
He wanted to thank the brigade, wives and partners and local businesses for their support for the team to get to the Australasian competition.
The UFBA represents the interests of 535 fire brigades and fire forces throughout the country, including more than 10,000 firefighters, with 80 per cent being volunteers.
The challenge is an internationally recognised forum for firefighters from across Australasia to demonstrate their extrication skills while competing against colleagues from across the world.
Road Rescue is increasingly becoming an essential skill for all firefighters and this event supports their development and growth.
Teams from New Zealand competing included Whitianga, Hawera, Linton Military, Feilding, Greytown, Rangiora, Rolleston, Geraldine and Milton.
The event, attended by more than 200 firefighters and many more supporters, was hosted by the United Fire Brigades' Association of New Zealand (UFBA) from July 20-23.