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Why we need to donate

JOINT PRESS RELEASE
Top Energy and Northpower


Date: Wednesday 29th November 2006

Appeal Results and the reasons why we need to donate…


When it comes to rescue missions Northlanders are in some of the ‘best helping hands’ in the country.

With the Northland Emergency Services Trust (NEST) receiving the ‘2006 Director of Civil Aviation Award’ earlier this year we know we have a top service; we know we have the fastest helicopter; we know we have remarkable pilots; and we know we have highly qualified medical crews.

These are all good reasons to donate but, do we really know why we must? Do we know the real impact this service has on our community? Do we know how many lives it saves? Do we know how much it costs to maintain such an excellent service?

This is why…

NEST, set up to operate Northland's independent emergency helicopter service, receives no direct government funding and relies on the generosity of the Northland community to maintain its rescue services. The money raised from the Appeal goes towards the standing costs of the helicopter, such as pilots' wages, insurance, interest on loans, and training.

The new ‘double donation’ scheme initiated by the sponsors will see NEST receive twice as many funds as in previous years. To date the Appeal, which ends this week, has raised $128,000. With less than a week to go the sponsors are asking for a final push from the Northland community to ensure the $150,000 target is met.

Over the last two months (the length of the campaign) Northlanders have made a concerted effort to contribute towards the 2006 Appeal. In this time the helicopter has clocked up thousands of miles, flown a considerable distance and gone through a lot of fuel. To demonstrate why it is important for ‘us’ as a community to donate, here is a snap shot of the Northland Electricity Rescue Helicopter service and the costs it incurred over the last two months.

In the last two months approximately 43,500 litres or $65,000 worth of fuel was used.

During this time the helicopter clocked up over 135 hours of flying time completing 'rescue' missions and travelled over 20,000 miles – which is nearly equivalent to once around the world. A further 10 hours were flown as part of the intensive ongoing training and scheduled crew competency programme.

In addition, the helicopter covered an area from as far north as Cape Reinga and as far south as Rotorua.

During the two months there have been over 100 'missions'. These missions included:
• traffic, farming, sporting and recreational accidents (trail bikes, rugby),
• boating and maritime incidents and searches,
• remote area medical retrievals,
• hospital retrievals from Dargaville, Rawene, Kaitaia, Kaeo, and Bay of Islands hospitals,
• hospital transportation from Whangarei to Auckland, Hamilton and Rotorua hospitals for further specialised care,
• a diver with the ‘bends’ transported to Devonport Naval Base Decompression Unit.
In many of these cases the helicopter was the difference between life and death. Several of the patients were in a critical condition. The timely delivery of medical care and subsequent speedy transportation to hospital made a significant difference to patient recovery.

Of the two helicopters, one has just undergone extensive maintenance which involved engine checks and overhauls, reconditioning of one main rotor blade, checking and calibration of all the instrumentation, overhaul of the hydraulic systems, plus two years accumulation of wear and tear. The other machine is presently undergoing a similar maintenance schedule. The cost for this maintenance is likely to total around $300,000.

Our rescue helicopter service saves lives; it costs a lot to keep it in the air; and it is desperate need of a community cash injection…these are the reasons why we must donate.

END

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