The Trusts help Auckland Land Search & Rescue Save Lives

For people who get into difficulties while out tramping or boating off the shoreline, Auckland Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR) can quite simply make the difference between life and death. The Trusts through Million Dollar Mission is proud to support the tremendous work of Auckland LandSAR.

A professional, volunteer-based organisation, Auckland LandSAR provides land and search rescue services to the whole Auckland region. These dedicated, unpaid professionals work 24/7 every day of the year to help people who are lost, injured or missing.

Working in close partnership with the New Zealand Police and the Rescue Coordination Centre, volunteers operate in wilderness and rural areas including regional and forest parks, shorelines and caves. And they also operate in suburban and urban areas by, for example, helping to locate a missing person who suffers from dementia.

Auckland LandSAR provides a safety net for when things go horribly wrong. Part of a nationwide organisation, Auckland LandSAR is one of the busiest branches participating in an average of 45 searches per year.

Most missing people are safely and quickly located, but sadly not all rescues have a happy ending. Earlier on this year the team was devastated when two young people lost their lives in a flash flooding tragedy in the Waitakere Ranges. Thankfully three other young people were successfully rescued.

And back in 2016 Auckland LandSAR was also involved in the search effort following one of New Zealand’s worst maritime tragedies. Eight people out fishing on the Kaipara Harbour lost their lives while three survivors were rescued from the stormy seas.

Tragedies such as these only underline the important work that Auckland LandSAR does. And it’s critical that they have the very latest equipment and technology at their fingertips to prevent more lives from being lost.

Funding of $20,005, which Auckland LandSAR obtained through The Trusts Million Dollar Mission, has been used to buy 12 new high-tech radios as well as precise GPS functionality that can be run in the field on a laptop. The radios offer a much needed upgrade on the existing ones which were old and outdated and required manual tracking of the areas covered by the search teams.

By contrast the new radios together with the state-of-the-art GPS tracking have made the process of planning and tracking searches much easier and more streamlined. And in difficult and challenging situations where every second counts, the improved co-ordination made possible by the Million Dollar Mission funding will have a big impact.

‘These radios will allow us to keep up-to-the minute tracking of our search team members while out in the field,’ advises LandSAR’s Angela Ranson.

‘It will assist us in being able to plan accordingly and also to track how much ground we have covered in a search and if anything has been missed,’ she continues.

‘We have been using these in training to date and the results are fantastic.’

What’s more, the publicity surrounding the Million Dollar Mission has had the very welcome effect of raising the public profile of Auckland LandSAR. The whole voting process enabled the organisation to reach a wide audience and to spread the word about the important work they do.

For more information check out the Auckland LandSAR website.

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