A lifesaver for sea rescuers

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Auckland Coastguard will put $10,000 gift toward a medical station on a rescue vessel.

Duthie Lidgard says coastguard members are not paramedics but the care they give can save a finger, limb, or even a life. Photo / Dean Purcell
Duthie Lidgard says coastguard members are not paramedics but the care they give can save a finger, limb, or even a life. Photo / Dean Purcell

The Auckland Coastguard is usually the first point of contact when things go wrong out at sea.

So it's only fitting that members are equipped with quality medical gear and facilities to do their job properly.

This year, the Auckland Coastguard receives $10,000 from the 12 Days of Christmas initiative by Auckland Airport.

A total of $120,000 was raised for 12 New Zealand charities by the airport and members of the travelling public who donated left-over currency when they left the country.

Auckland Coastguard general manager Duthie Lidgard said the money would be used to buy equipment and facilities for a medical station on a new rescue vessel currently being built. The boat - which costs close to $2 million - will replace a 10-year-old vessel the team uses.

"We're the first response when disaster strikes," he said.

"We deal with some very serious accidents - broken bones, severe lacerations, broken necks and backs, severe cuts to fingers.

We'd just like to have more advanced medical care when we have to deal with these."

Mr Lidgard said a lot of the time, the coastguard had to really step up in their care for a patient before ambulance staff arrived.

"We're not paramedics. But this is really going to help us give more advanced care before St John gets there.

"The care we give really can save a finger, limb, or even a life."

Auckland Airport's general manager of corporate affairs, Charles Spillane, acknowledged the importance of the work that the coastguard does - particularly with the holiday season coming up.

"The 12 Days of Christmas is just fantastic," Mr Lidgard said. "It's a wonderful project that isn't just helping the charities, but also the community."

Auckland Airport is giving away $120,000 to NZ charities as part of its 12 Days of Christmas initiative this year. The Herald is profiling each of the winning charities.

- NZ Herald

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