Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 26 February 2015 Contents local news
26 February, 2015 | Page 5
after nurturing the Milford Emergency
Response Team through two summer
seasons, English paramedic alison Wright
will head home in april.
Milford’s team of volunteer emergency first
responders has been put through its paces
this summer, with a busy start to 2015
following a very quiet end to 2014.
Ms Wright said the team had become
increasingly self-sufficient thanks to weekly
training, inter-agency cooperation, and
the involvement of business managers in
“The first season was more about
establishing the team. This year’s been
more about trying to develop it and push
it on,” she said. “It has the odd occasions
where both myself and the controller is out,
times where it has to be able to operate on
one such occasion was the multi-vehicle
crash on Milford Road at the beginning
of this month, during which all leaders
and deputies were unavailable and the
volunteer team successfully managed the
incident alone, she said.
Under her watch the volunteer base has
expanded by 250 percent through word of
mouth, with a total of 28 volunteers making
for a capacity team.
“It’s one of the few things in Milford that
brings together all companies,” she said.
“The only place they get to do that is the
About 14 volunteers attend a weekly
training with Ms Wright, preparing for
everything from Search and Rescue
operations and accidents on the Milford
Road, to allergic reactions and hypothermic
“We get a real assortment of jobs,” she
said. “The only thing is until they can put
it into a real scenario, you don’t know how
they’re going to react and respond to a
MERT provides an initial response to all
emergency incidents, basic triage, medical
assessment, and information gathering
while other agencies make the long journey
in from Te anau if required.
Ms Wright said the great level of
cooperation between MERT and all other
emergency services and contractors had
been demonstrated by a recent Search and
“The landSaR guys came in, and I went
as the medic with them. We sat and
waited [with the patient]. Southern Lakes
[Helicopters] came and lifted the patient
out onto the road, where they met the
doctor on the road, before being taken away
in the ambulance. Police were controlling
the whole thing from Te anau.”
Ms Wright’s position as team leader is
funded by the Milford community Trust,
which in turn gets contributions from all the
business operators in Milford.
“It’s very much supported by local
businesses and local groups.”
From the outset, she always had in mind
that she would complete two summer
seasons and then return to full-time work in
the UK, Ms Wright said.
“It’s time to go home and see my family.”
The inconsistent frequency of operations
also put her at risk of skill fade, whereby
she was not using all her training on a
regular basis, she said.
“When you’re not getting lots of regular
jobs, you’re not using your skills.”
Ms Wright will return to a position as
an emergency care practitioner in West
Leicestershire, and will spend two weeks
in Kenya later this year operating a pop-up
clinic for locals.
In the meantime, she was preparing for an
inter-agency simulation next month called
operation Resolution, to follow on from last
year’s operation Endeavour.
“a real call will go out on the paging system,
and St John, Fire, Police, and Downers will
all respond in real time,” she said.
“The last one was a light aircraft which
crash landed at the airport. This one’s
shrouded in mystery.”
Milford emergency leader heading home
Milford Emergency Response Team leader Alison Wright will head back to the UK after two
successful summer seasons at the helm of the volunteer group.
By Brendan McBryde
A MERT volunteer extinguishes a fire under the guidance of a Te Anau volunteer firefighter during
an incident last year.
70 Town Centre, Te Anau • Phone (03) 249 9268
Only $10 a pack for the month of March!
Summer’s not over yet but it’s time to get
started on Buccaline tablets and keep the
winter chills away.
Buccaline needs to be taken when you’re still
healthy, so get ahead of the cold season.
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