The national Youth in Emergency Services programme began last weekend for 18 Kaipara youth testing their abilities to handle water rescues in the Kai Iwi Lakes.
It’s the first time ever that the five week YES programme has been available to the area and hosted by Kaipara emergency services for 16–18 year olds.
Last Saturday at Kai Iwi Lakes training focussed on water safety alongside surf lifesaving instructors as well as land-based search and rescue.
“The morning involved using the inflatable rescue boat, tube rescues, basic skills, risk identification, and getting people to put life jackets on while in the water,” said spokesperson Shona Morgan. “After lunch they switched to work with a police search and rescue team to do radio and map GPS training while looking for a lost person in the nearby scrub.”
The group includes Dargaville and Ruawai High School students as well as other young nominated community members.
This Saturday they will learn about the fire service and rural fire.
YES is funded by the Ministry of Youth Development and this will be the fifth time the programme has been run in Northland, with a total of 65 young people so far taking part. “We want them to be challenged by a new experience and to have a better understanding about what the emergency services do,” says Shona.
A graduation ceremony will end the course and Shona hopes many of the graduates go on to become involved and join their local volunteer services.