Geraldine volunteer firefighters have been named the best road crash rescue team in the country.
The Geraldine Volunteer Fire Brigade Team beat 13 other teams from around New Zealand to claim first place in the Road Crash Rescue national challenge, held on June 21-23 in Inglewood, Taranaki.
There were five firefighters and one ambulance driver in the team.
Graeme Mould was team leader. Matt Harrison and ambulance driver Christine Horne were the medics in the team and Ed Anscombe, Graeme Dwyer and Grant Stephens operated the technical tools during the competition, which included trauma and crash rescue simulations.
This won them a funded trip to compete at the Australasian Road Rescue Organisation (Arro) competition in late July, which will be held in Warragul, an hour east of Melbourne, Australia.
The team won the event in 2016 and came second last year.
Mr Mould, who also won best team leader at the nationwide event, said it was a “good” challenge to improve teams road rescue skills.
“It was a tough competition.”
The Geraldine contingent will join teams from Feilding and Wanaka at the Australasian competition, Mr Mould said.
While the Geraldine team’s second place at the 2017 Australian competition had won it entry into the world competition in October this year, it would not be going.
This was due to the cost of travelling to Cape Town, in South Africa, and safety concerns about the area at the moment, Mr Mould said.
“We thought we’d focus on the national event instead.”
The team competed at the world event in Romania last year, placing 16th out of 34 teams.
As well as its competition success, the Geraldine Volunteer Fire Brigade had gained four new volunteers in recent months, Mr Mould said.
“So numbers are doing OK.”
However, the brigade was always open to new people joining, he said.