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Hirepool Steps up Support for Rescue Helicopter

Media Release
PO Box 12048, Penrose,

Hirepool Steps up Support for Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust with Timely Rescue Mission

Auckland, 22 November 2012 - An innocent mistake by an innocent young two-year-old girl on holiday in Pauanui recently resulted in an immediate response by the Whitianga-based Westpac Rescue Helicopter, a quick transfer to Starship Hospital in Auckland and another successful mission.

It was typical of Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust which has been providing timely assistance to those in need, often in challenging circumstances, for more than 40 years

What started as the world’s first civilian surf-rescue service helicopter service back in 1970 has since performed more than 15,000 rescues with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service the only one in New Zealand operating two helicopters 24/7 every day of the year. This service is internationally recognised for its life saving rescue work.

Their ‘Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime’ philosophy, which has become a hallmark of the ARHT management, support staff, dedicated rescue pilots, paramedics and flight crew, is what appeals so much to one of its major sponsors, Hirepool Limited, which has itself been providing timely rental hire assistance to commercial and domestic customers nationwide for more than 50 years, and has just increased its support to help cover the second helicopter costs.

And it is the caring and responsive attitude of the Pauanui and Tairua St John’s medics, and speedy response by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew which Mark and Louise, parents of injured Lucy, will be forever grateful.

The accident unfolded on Labour weekend when Lucy and her twin sister Pippa were happily playing on the deck of the family holiday home in Pauanui. When their father called them to go to the park Lucy propelled her scooter across the deck and in her haste missed the stairs landing head first onto the concrete below the deck.

She was knocked out, recovered briefly but then drifted in and out of consciousness.
“It happened so quickly and we were all in a state of shock,” recalls Louise. “We soon realised Lucy needed help, called the local St John’s ambulance, and they responded very promptly.”

It became apparent to the St John Ambulance team that Lucy required specialist care and they soon called for urgent back up. They made Lucy as comfortable as possible and drove her to nearby Pauanui airport where the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was waiting to fly her to Starship Hospital.

Lucy was immediately assessed as Status 2 (very serious) by Advanced Paramedic Paul Dillon and loaded with Louise into the BK 117 Westpac Rescue Helicopter, one of the most commonly used aircraft in the world for rescue work, and reached Starship Hospital 35 minutes later. Father Mark and sister Pippa packed up and drove home knowing Lucy was in safe hands.

For Mark Powell, Chief Executive of Hirepool, New Zealand’s rental equipment leader, being able to contribute in small way to the successful outcome of Lucy’s unfortunate experience “was why we came on board as a major sponsor of the ARHT back in 2006. Then to hear of this great result, only days after increasing our commitment to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter service, is very satisfying.

“Some of our people have previously benefitted from the Westpac Rescue service. They can’t praise it enough.”

For ARHT CEO Bob Parkinson this story is almost complete. And he is quick to stress that only with the continued support of Hirepool, and the Trust’s other generous benefactors, commercial partners and community groups “would outcomes like this be possible.”

“As the population has increased in this region so has the demand for our service - up 40% on what it was 3-4 years ago where with one helicopter we flew 450 rescue missions a year.
That meant adding a second aircraft and the net effect of that required increasing our fund raising by another $1million annually.

“Now with the second helicopter we can base it at Whitianga during holiday periods to meet the demands on the Coromandel, the population of which increases up to an extra 140,000 at its peak. As a result we were only minutes away from Lucy when the 111 call came in.” Mr Parkinson expects the ARHT to reach 800 rescue missions by the end of 2012 - a 12 month record.

As for Lucy, who sustained a fractured frontal bone and bruising, it is almost back to normal for the St Heliers youngster. And a big thanks from her parents to St Johns, Starship Hospital, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter service - and its generous supporters.

CAPTION: Lucy Forman, recovered from her accident, pictured at Mechanics Bay with mother Louise and father Mark, flanked by Hirepool CEO Mark Powell (left) and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Crewman Dean Harvey (behind).


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