Thursday, April 25, 2024

Marlborough emergency responders head north

A team of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) specialists from Marlborough have headed north to help with the cyclone emergency response in Auckland.

Senior Adviser for Community Resilience Dave Parsons (pictured, third from left) is leading a team of six that includes Oliver Rathmill, Pete Rasmussen, Amaroa Katu and Hemi Priestley (left to right). Nicole Langedijk, from the New Zealand Response Team based in Canterbury, also joined the team.

Emergency Services Officer Gary Spence (pictured, right) manages the Marlborough Response Team and may also head north to assist on the ground, Marlborough District Council said in a statement.

The Marlborough team is made up of 26 volunteers who train weekly. They are qualified in ground-based rescue, Civil Defence Centre set up and supervision, mass rescue response, helicopter and 4WD response. Its members range in age from their early 20s to their 60s and have a diverse set of skills, from technical expertise to strong interpersonal skills.

The team has worked on a number of emergencies, including the Kaikōura earthquake response; the Gita and Fehi storms in Nelson/Tasman; the flood response on the West Coast; the Pigeon Valley fires in Nelson and two flood responses in Marlborough in 2021 and 2022.

Mayor Nadine Taylor said the team were a very special group of people.

“Marlburians can be proud they have a dedicated, skilled and respected response team who can respond effectively in an emergency locally and nationally,” she said.

“Marlborough is fortunate to have such community-minded volunteers and it is great that we are able to send them north to help with the cyclone Gabrielle response.

“My special thanks go to Gary Spence who has built and nurtured the team from humble beginnings back in 2013.”

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