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Youth say 'YES' to emergency services

05 May 2015

In a drive to encourage more young people to volunteer for the emergency services, Minister for Youth Nikki Kaye has introduced the Youth in Emergency Services (YES) programme.

The programme will be running on the Coromandel during June and we are looking for 16 young people between the ages of 16 and 21 to participate.

"The programme is designed to strengthen and encourage young people's connection to their community by encouraging them to engage with a range of volunteer emergency services by way of a hands-on introduction to the work of these services," says our Councils Community Development Officer, Marlene Perry.

The YES programme is run collaboratively with the Volunteer Fire Services, St John, Land Search and Rescue (LandSAR), Thames Valley Civil Defence, our Council and local community-based volunteer emergency service partners. The YES programme is delivered in two parts: theory (learning about the equipment etc.) and practical (using the equipment) with four emergency services - St John, NZ Fire Service, LandSAR and Civil Defence.

Each service will have a Thursday night, in Thames, to learn about what the service does and a Sunday to use the skills they have learned.

The final Sunday will be a combined exercise with a 'real life' emergency scenario, followed by a graduation ceremony for the youth. Friends and family are welcome to attend the graduation.

"We lose so many of our youth to cities and so we aren't seeing an increase in young volunteers in our emergency services," says TCDC Chief Executive David Hammond. "We have been given this amazing opportunity by the Youth Minister and I have no doubt that we will succeed in filling all 16 positions and see more young people take the opportunity to volunteer after they have completed the YES programme."

The YES programme has been successfully delivered in Kaikohe, Gisborne, Rotorua, Mangakino/Turangi, Kaikoura and Alexandra in 2013-14.

Youth in Emergency Services trainees from Kaikohe tend to a patient during an exercise last June involving a downed plane, patients trapped in a car, a missing person and a wildfire. Photo / Peter de Graaf