Emergency services exercise around Mangawhai this Saturday

25 May 2021, 10:01 AM

Smoke, helicopters, emergency services vehicles and rescue vessels are likely to be visible around the Mangawhai area Saturday, 29 May as a group of young people put their new-found emergency services skills to the test.

Fifteen teenagers have been learning hands-on emergency services skills over the past three weeks through the national Youth in Emergency Services (YES) programme. Next Saturday, they will face an exercise scenario that confronts them with missing and injured people on land and in the water, and fires that need to be extinguished. This will call on all the skills they have learned throughout the programme – triage and first aid, land and water-based rescue, firefighting, decision-making, communication and teamwork.

The exercise is the highlight of the programme, says Shona Morgan, spokesperson for Northland’s YES co-ordinating work group. It will involve a total of about 75 people, with contributing agencies including Fire and Emergency NZ, NZ Police, St John Ambulance, NZ Red Cross, Mangawhai Heads Volunteer Lifeguard Service and helicopters.

Funded by the Ministry of Youth Development, the YES programme is designed to strengthen the connection between young people and their communities. It has been strongly supported by emergency services and agencies in Northland since it was first offered in the region in 2014, and rotates around the three districts. The Mangawhai programme is the eighth to have been run in Northland.

A formal graduation ceremony for the young people and their families will follow early next month, when the participants will also be offered the opportunity to volunteer with the emergency service of their choice.

Scenes from the final exercise at last year’s YES programme.

Scenes from the final exercise at last year’s YES programme.