COVID-19 – Update from your rescue helicopter | Philips Search and Rescue Trust


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COVID-19 – Update from your rescue helicopter

Tuesday 21st April 2020

Nearly 4 weeks into New Zealand’s nationwide lockdown, the lifesaving work of your rescue helicopter has not stopped. Busy and available for accidents, emergencies and to transport patients with complex medical needs, now more than ever, we are grateful for your continued, loyal support.

Since New Zealand went into lockdown 77 missions have been carried out by your rescue team. Still fully operational 24/7, your rescue teams have had to implement new precautionary measures to protect the safety and wellbeing of all New Zealanders, the patients we transfer and our specialist flight crew.

The onboard Intensive Care Paramedics (ICP’s) now wear full PPE including; full body coverall, two pairs of gloves, a half face mask with filters or a N95 mask and eye protection.

Pilots and Crewmen, at a minimum, are also wearing full coveralls, a surgical mask and gloves throughout flights and patients are issued suitable PPE depending on the situation.

The compact environment of a rescue helicopter brings unique challenges and the new threat of COVID-19 adds a layer of complexity. Should your rescue helicopter crew be exposed this could result in a minimum 14 day stand down period, meaning your rescue helicopter could be at risk.

We are driven to keep the crew safe to ensure we can be here for those who need us. This inspired us to go beyond the government’s standard precautions for health workers and introduce further initiatives in a bid to reduce transmission points and further spread.

These initiatives include the introduction of a barrier flight curtain in each rescue helicopter, the purchase of medical gumboots for each crew member and the purchase of additional heartrate finger monitors – each item carrying an additional and unbudgeted cost.

To find out more about these COVID-19 related initiatives or the latest missions carried out by your rescue helicopter please visit

Please be assured that we are working with and alongside the New Zealand Government, NZ Police and other emergency services to keep you and your loved ones safe whether at home or moving within your immediate region.

Stay safe and inside your bubble. While we hope you won’t need us, we are here for you.

From all members of your rescue team

Saving lives, together.



Tuesday 24th March 2020

To our loyal rescue helicopter supporters,

Our thoughts and hearts go out to everyone affected by COVID-19.

In a world of uncertainty, we wanted to offer some clarity around the changes taking place.

Following the Government’s announcement, we will be closing our administration office based in Hamilton (but don’t worry, our rescue services will still be operating 24/7 as they are essential services). The safety of our donors and our team will always be our number one priority.

Our fundraising and marketing teams will continue to work from home and remains available. If you do have any questions you are still able to phone us on 0800 11 10 10 from 8.30am to 5pm Monday-Friday, or alternately email us on [email protected]

We ask for your patience at this time. We endeavour to action your requests and receipts as soon as possible, however, we are reliant on other services who are also affected by the nationwide closure, so things might take a little longer than usual – we thank you in advance for your understanding.

Please know that while you may not be able to see us, we are still here continuing to fundraise to keep our vital rescue services available for our community – and we still need your support.

We are monitoring the situation very closely, as we’re sure you all are, and we’ll keep you posted of any updates taking place here. Please stay safe and let’s continue to all look after each other.

Saving lives, together.

We Need You

Your support ensures rescue helicopters are available to your community.
Your rescue helicopter can be airborne in 10 minutes and, in a life or death situation, this speed and agility can make all the difference. The timely assistance that rescue helicopters provide can reduce disability and improve survival – the sooner treatment begins, the greater chance of patient recovery.

We are partially funded by a government contract with National Ambulance Sector Office (NASO). We rely heavily on the generosity of sponsors and the community to help fund the shortfall that allows us to be rescue ready 24/7, 365 days of the year. This crucial financial support ensures our rescue helicopter can continue to bring life-saving equipment, rescue personnel, and intensive care paramedics directly to the patient.

Without your support, your rescue helicopter would not be able to remain operational on a 24/7, 365 day a year basis. This could mean a serious delay in people being rescued or transported to hospital for urgent treatment.

Support your rescue helicopter and make a lifesaving difference.

Saving Lives, Together.

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