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NZFS Volunteers Up There with the World’s best

19 October 2005
For immediate release

New Zealand Fire Service volunteers up there with the world’s best

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Fire-fighters from around the world came together at Mystery Creek Events Centre last week to compete for the title of the world’s best.

NZFS Thames took fourth place in the World Rescue Challenge making them the highest rated volunteer service, competing against paid international fire and rescue professionals.

Overall in the competition South Wales FRS Bridgend came in first place, Don Valley FRS second and NSWFB Burwood third.

The World Rescue Challenge followed the Australasian Rescue Challenge and was held in conjunction with the Staying Alive Expo.

It is the first time the two challenges and the expo have ever been held back to back, “which is attributable to the unique capabilities of the venue,” says Nicola Greenwell, marketing manager, Mystery Creek Events Centre.

“Combining the venue with the event management team skills, the organisers were able to create a super-sized, multifaceted event not seen in New Zealand before,” she said.

The Staying Alive Expo attracted over 12,000 people last Saturday, according to Hamilton Chief Fire Officer and expo coordinator Roy Breeze.

Part of Saturdays activities included burning down a house, with internal cameras showing spectators outside the rapid destruction of fire, and car drops from a crane to show the impact of road crashes.

The event was a blazing success according to the project manager Chris Walbran from the New Zealand Fire Service.

“The event was a total success in all facets and it set new benchmarks and standards for the competition. It was a fun learning environment for everyone involved and the international visitors were very impressed,” he said.

“The facilities were world-class, and it was great to have a venue with a high level of security and lockdown considering we had over 150 near new Holden cars onsite,” Mr Walbran said.

The quality of the new cars meant that the competitors were challenged in the way that they deal with motor vehicle accidents.

“In the past we have used old rusty cars from wreckers, which made it really easy to cut through. The strength of the new cars made it more realistic for the accidents we face day to day,” Mr Walbran said.
Organisers say the economic impact to the region is worth millions of dollars.
“With 1,500 national and international visitors requiring food, accommodation and transportation, this event is definitely up there with some of the larger ones in terms of the economic impact for the region,” said Mr Quayle, general manager of Mystery Creek Events Centre.


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