Some good news for a change...
We've embarked on a project with Aotea College and Tai Poutini Polytechnic's Emergency Management Academy of New Zealand (EMANZ), putting a dozen Year 12 &13 students through the process of gaining Orange Cards as NZ USAR (Urban Search And Rescue) Responders - meaning that they'll have the minimum industry standard of competency in responding to structural collapse incidents. Not a dumbed-down kids version, but the same qualification that firefighters have. These qualifications also count towards their NCEA levels - certainly a bit different from studying Shakespeare!
Tuesday kicked off with a day of personal preparedness for emergencies, the basics of the Co-ordinated Incident Management System (CIMS), and mass casualty triage, with a visit from the NZ Police to talk about their role in disasters. We'll be following this up and helping them through their workbooks in the coming weeks. After that will be first aid, USAR awareness and general rescue, interspersed with visits to and by assorted emergency response agencies in the area - Fire Service, Rural Fire, Ambulance, community rescue teams etc.
These students are going to be learning skills that will be invaluable to themselves, their families, and communities, as well as to their prospective employers.