There are so many great charities in New Zealand that it makes it all the more special to be nominated and voted the most trusted brand by the public poll conducted by Readers Digest. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is a lifesaving emergency service, supported by local trusts, is there when people really need help. It is fantastic that this is recognised by the people of New Zealand. When accidents and medical emergencies occur the service is there 24/7 – getting medical assistance to a patient at the scene within an hour increases the patient’s chance of making a full recovery by up to 80%.
In speaking to patients and their families they describe the moment they first heard the Westpac Rescue Helicopter in the distance and the feeling of huge relief as it arrives; whether it is a motor vehicle accident, search and rescue, a medical emergency or whatever the crew are tasked to. The crew train for these moments; in winching, search and rescue, orientation, bush survival and helicopter underwater escape training, as well as being Intensive Care Paramedics. The crew operate on a paradigm of trust. They put their lives into the hands of their colleagues while they save the lives of others.
Westpac Rescue Helicopters service the four main New Zealand centres; Auckland, Waikato, Wellington and Christchurch and from these bases cover the majority of New Zealand. These services are supported by the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust/GCH Aviation, Life Flight Trust, Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust and Philips Search and Rescue Trust.
As Rick Knight, Crew Chief for the Canterbury West Coast service observes, “Getting this recognition for the service is really appreciated, we are often dealing in extreme circumstances all working together to help the patient and then get them to the hospital – it is great to know that people are thinking of this service. We want New Zealanders to go out and live their lives to the full but also to know if there is an accident or emergency that, they can trust that we will be there.”
Life Flight Trust Helicopter Pilot Harry Stevenson adds, “There is a huge team effort required to ensure we can respond every time our emergency phones ring, and that includes the other excellent emergency services that we work alongside and the community and sponsors who help fund us. It is fantastic that this is being recognised.”
Karl Taylor, Chief Paramedic for the Auckland Westpac Rescue Helicopter says he, “is delighted that the service has been recognised in this way. While we endeavour to offer the very best patient care possible, it is always nice hearing from the public that they find value in what we do. In stressful, challenging situations, trust between team members and the patients is so important. It is lovely knowing that people have faith in what we do. It means we are doing our job right!”
Waikato Westpac Rescue Helicopter Base Manager, Grant Bremner adds, “Thank you New Zealand for voting Westpac Rescue Helicopter as your most trusted charity. This award is truly humbling.”
The Westpac Rescue Helicopters saves thousands of lives every year, but it can only be there thanks to the support of Westpac and the whole community. The service relies on support from across New Zealand; community groups, corporates and individuals who have contributed. This Award is to be shared with all of them and with our principal sponsor Westpac.