Balclutha tops rescue challenge

Assessing the situation . . . Fire brigade members from the East Otago team assess their vehicle crash situation for the Otago Southland Provincial Road Crash Rescue Challenge at the SouthRoads yards in Balclutha recently. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Team work and crash rescue techniques can help save lives.

The Otago Southland Provincial Road Crash Rescue Challenge was held recently at the SouthRoads yards, and the four fire brigades involved were buzzing to return to the competition after a long hiatus.

The challenge had not been held since 2019 due to Covid-19.

Teams from Balclutha, East Otago, Milton and a combined Lumsden/Mossburn team competed to see who had the best time and best execution of solving a staged crash scenario.

The Balclutha team topped the competition for the first time in more than 10 years, team spokeswoman Stacey Murray said.

The team will travel to Fielding next June to compete in the UFBA Combined North Island/South Island Road Crash Rescue Challenge.

Ms Murray said the type of challenge was unknown until the groups stepped on to the yard and saw the crash scenario.

‘‘It started off with us going in and having two scenarios to complete, which we had done in previous years but we were obviously nervous as one scenario was time›critical and the other was a trapped scenario,’’ Ms Murray said.

One scenario involved a person who had their leg trapped under the pedal in the car and their arm stuck in the wheel.

Three judges, one for the team’s leader, one for the team›mate using the tools and one for the medical team› mate, studied every move as they made their way through the crash scenario.

‘‘It’s always nerve›racking, because you have to think about going into a situation and assessing before you can do anything. Then after that, it’s the process of cutting through metal, making sure the area is clear of hazards and helping the person or people inside,’’ Ms Murray said.

‘‘We were confident as a team and had a great dynamic, but there’s always uncertainty in any situation. It makes you think of real life situations and how to think on your feet and make the best decision in the moment.’’

‘‘We won six of the eight trophies available, which was a pretty good feeling.’’