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Security Guards’ Actions Saved Lives

June 24 2005

Security Guards’ Actions Saved Lives

The actions of two security officers in the course of their duties were so exceptional, judges in the 2005 New Zealand Security Association Security Officer of the Year were unable to choose between them.

So for the first time, the honour is being shared by Mr Kehe Moana (Mo) Fameitau from ADT Security and Mr Alan Wharehau who at the time of his actions was working for SkyCity.

The nominations for both officers outline circumstances where through their intervention, potential deaths were avoided. The awards were presented at the NZSA AGM in Auckland this evening (June 24).

At 9.30pm one evening towards the end of 2004, Mr Fameitau was carrying out a routine lock up of the Kiwi Esplanade council car park in Mangere Bridge.

He noticed a car out of place, he approached the car and heard a faint noise coming from the boot. Quickly realising there was a person inside, he called Police who found a naked young woman crammed into the small boot space. The Police report noted the woman had been in the boot for some hours and was obviously in a distressed state.

Detective DBH Sherwood of the Manukau Central Police Station said, “Mr Fameitau’s actions prevented the woman from suffering further and in all probability she would not have been found until the following day – if at all.”

Mr Fameitau’s statement (abridged) to the Otahuhu Police said: “I sensed something wasn;t right and walked over to the parked car to see if anyone was in it. I heard a tiny moan, but I still wasn’t sure if it was an animal or a human making the noises, so I asked ‘ kick the boot if you can hear me’, and I felt the boot move. At this point I knew it was obviously a human so I asked if the person needed an ambulance. The reply was very faint, but I heard a small cry – ‘yes’.”

In accordance with training, Mr Fameitau contacted local police and within minutes they were there. With his help, the police opened the boot to find the young girl in a very distressed state. She was dehydrated and police reports later stated she had been there since 7.30am.

Subsequent enquiries established the girl had actually put herself in the boot and she has since been charged with making a false statement to police. However Dectective Sherwood said this should in no way diminish the work done by Mr Fameitau.

ADT Business Manager Grant Winfield said he was delighted with Mr Fameitau’s award: “He is one of the most valued members of our security team and an excellent role model. He is one of our finest.”

Co-award winner Alan Wharerau was working as a security officer medic for SkyCity earlier this year when he made a decision credited with saving a co-worker’s life.

As a security officer medic, Mr Wharehau’s duties included attending to any medical incidents within SkyCity premises, attending to both staff and customers requests for assistance. The level of care provided by the medics is deemed as “pre-hospital or pre-ambulance” care.

Mr Wharehau was attending a staff social cricket match at Ellerslie Park when one of the staff members complained of feeling unwell, with numbness in his left arm and some shortness of breath. Rather than allowing him to “have a rest” as the staff member wanted to do, Mr Wharehau insisted that be was going to transport him immediately to Accident and Emergency to be checked out.

En route to A&E, the staff member’s condition deteriorated rapidly. While driving, Mr Wharehau was trying to get the staff member into an upright position, who was at this stage doubled over with pain.

“He was cradling the staff member with one arm holding him up as he drove along the on-ramp to be met by heavy traffic moving at a crawl,’ says Mr Wharehau’s then manager Ross Thomas who made the nomination.

“Assessing the situation, Alan dialled 111 to call for an ambulance. As the staff member’s condition worsened he pulled to the side of the road while giving instructions to the Ambulance service and tending to the patient.”

The staff member was transferred to Auckland Hospital where he suffered a heart attack shortly after his arrival.

“If he had not been in hospital at the time of the attack when his heart stopped, he would not be with us today,” Mr Thomas says. “Alan’s alertness to the seriousness of the situation, his subsequent prompt actions in transporting the staff member to hospital, his care while travelling and awaiting ambulance arrival, ensured his survival. He certainly deserves this award.”

NZSA Chairman Scott Carter says the actions of these exceptional security officers are a wonderful endorsement of the work security officers do every day of the year.

“Not all the stories are so dramatic, but in all kinds of ways security officers make a huge contribution to Kiwis’ safety. Their work is to be appreciated and congratulated as we congratulate Mo and Alan.”


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