Brigades honoured for rescue

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Three southern fire brigades have been honoured for their well-executed teamwork in extracting a man trapped in a grain silo last year.

New Zealand Fire Service chief executive and national commander Paul McGill visited the Riversdale Fire Station recently to acknowledge the work of the Riversdale, Balfour and Gore volunteer brigades in rescuing the man and meet firefighters involved in the operation.

Gore brigade chief fire officer Steve Lee said when presenting the certificates of appreciation to the three brigades Mr McGill commented on the high standards of leadership and dedication to the community demonstrated by the volunteer firefighters.

In all, 32 volunteers were involved in the rescue, Mr Lee said.

The certificates recognised the professionalism, commitment and teamwork shown by the three brigades in safely rescuing the worker from inside the grain solo at a property in Nine Mile Rd, Riversdale, in March last year.

“It took 45 minutes to extract him,” Mr Lee said.

The rescue was a true team effort and not down to any individual.

“Fire Service did a review of the action taken by the three brigades at the scene and that review is very favourable,” Mr Lee said.

He believed it was the first rescue of its kind the brigades had been involved in.

“It was an extremely difficult rescue.”

The three brigades had extremely good working relationships and that was vital to bringing a successful outcome, he said.

The volunteers were also helped by the area’s residents.

“The brigades wish to acknowledge the efforts at the scene by local workers.”

“All of the three chiefs wanted to recognise the dedication of the membership and were positive that the brigades would continue to provide a timely and skilled response in support of the community in times of need.”

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said it was great to see the brigades acknowledged for their work.

“It was particularly good to see volunteers recognised for going above and beyond, putting their lives on the line to save other people,” Mr Hicks said.

“We are incredibly well served by our fire brigades,” he said.