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Firefighters Recovery Efforts Great with International Support Following Christchurch Earthquake

( The Minister Responsible for the New Zealand Fire Service, Nathan Guy, has been on the ground visiting firefighters in Christchurch today to observe recovery efforts.

”Firefighters and Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams are well trained and prepared for emergencies like this, especially after the September 4th quake when valuable lessons were learnt. They swung into action immediately after this quake and have been working non-stop ever since.

“Latimer Square has become an international family of USAR teams from around the world with around 600 highly trained individuals from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, China, USA and UK based there.

”The international presence in Christchurch is a powerful sign of the wide ranging support that has kindly been offered from overseas.

“The NSW team I spoke to acknowledged the fine work the New Zealand USAR teams carried out in the initial 24 hours after the earthquake. There have been 70 live rescues by USAR and Fire Service teams.

“Fire Service personnel are still dealing with hundreds of calls a day – mainly structural incidents, clearing hazards and sprinkler investigations.

“I’ve also been very impressed with the new Hazmat Command Units that are making a real difference.

“Once again many Canterbury firefighters have rushed to help others while their own homes have suffered major damage. A welfare program has been set up and the families of career and volunteer personnel have been phoned to check they are okay.

“Every Christchurch Fire Station has been damaged in some way but thankfully all are still operational.

“There is still plenty of hard work ahead, but this has been another reminder of how much our society relies on emergency services like firefighters in these difficult times.”

Media Release 25 February 2011 from Nathan Guy, Minister of Internal Affairs.



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