Fire & Rescue NSW remembers Christchurch one year on

Published: 22nd February 2012

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) will be represented at a memorial service today in Christchurch, marking one year since a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit Christchurch and devastated much of the city.

FRNSW lead two heavy Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Australian Task Forces, and were the first international rescue team to arrive in New Zealand following the earthquake.

Each Task Force comprised more than 70 disaster assistance specialists including ambulance paramedics, doctors, engineers, firefighter hazmat specialists, firefighter rescue specialists and senior fire officers experienced in incident management.

Commissioner Greg Mullins paid tribute to the personnel who responded to the emergency and to the people of Christchurch.

“The scale of this emergency was incredible. Over 23 days, the task forces worked for hours on end searching for people in the rubble, carrying out repairs to homes and business, assisting the elderly in the community and even recovering computers and hard drives from the crumbled buildings so that business owners could begin to rebuild their lives and the city.

“Soon after the arrival of the first task force on 23 February, NSW firefighters were able to rescue one person from the Pyne Gould Building, which was a wonderful experience given the extent of the damage around them.

“Our thoughts and prayers remain with the people of Christchurch as they continue to rebuild their homes and businesses.”

FRNSW Deputy Commissioner John Benson will attend today’s memorial service in Christchurch and will accept a plaque from the Mayor of Christchurch, Bob Parker, on behalf of the Australian USAR taskforces.