Kariaotahi club wins top surf rescue award

From left , back row: Rick Shroeder, Tara Coe, Jim Coe with Toyota Financial Services Marketing Manager Chris Stark. Front row: Bradley Walters and Guy Hornblow.
Photo by Carmen Bird Photography.

Being a volunteer can sometimes be a thankless job. However, the dedication and effort of the Kariaotahi Surf Life Saving Club has been recognised at the 2017 annual Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) Toyota Financial Services Awards of Excellence.

A massive after-hours effort by Surf Life Saving Kariaotahi lifeguards to respond to three separate emergencies in rapid succession, has earned the club the Rescue of the Year Award.
The emergency unfolded at 6pm after patrols had finished for the day, when a swimmer got into difficulties in a hole and had to be assisted unconscious to the shore. They were given oxygen while medical support was summoned.

Shortly after that, lifeguards were advised that two other beach goers were missing, possibly at sea in large surf. The visibility was poor because of a setting sun. A land and sea search was undertaken and eventually located the missing people, safe and well on land.

The third act in the drama followed when the lifeguards were asked to respond to a head-on motorcycle accident that left one person with suspected spinal and pelvic injuries and a badly broken leg. They checked and stabilised the patient and transported her to the Kariaotahi clubrooms for monitoring until an ambulance arrived.

Nineteen Kariaotahi club members assisted in the events of that Monday evening, including three newly qualified lifeguards.

SLSNR chief executive Matt Williams said the Kariaotahi lifeguards’ efforts that evening undoubtedly ensured no one lost their life. “It was like a training scenario: three individual, out-of-hours emergencies—a rescue, a search and a serious medical event. Quick thinking, preparedness and teamwork made the difference.”

Kariaotahi President, Jim Coe, said the award recognises the dedication they give to their volunteer roles. “These rescues just show the amount of effort that our team dedicates to training, and helping keep our beaches safe. It is great to have our guards acknowledged, we are incredibly proud of them.”

Jim says that the majority of their call outs in the season took place after hours, and that they (the beach goers) were fortunate that the guards were still at the beach.
“The beach is a dangerous place, and it needs to be treated with caution and respect, especially when the patrols are not out. Our team work as a family unit, and the training that they put in over the season certainly paid off with those rescues.”

SLSNR chief executive Matt Williams reiterated that the three rescues were a fantastic effort at the end of a long, busy day.

For more information on the Rescue of the month in January 2017, please click on the link below;

http://www.slsnz.org.nz/media/814307/2017-jan-bp-rom-kariaotahi.pdf

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