What we do

The Wellington Emergency Response Team are dedicated, trained volunteers who help our communities prepare for, and get through emergencies. We meet weekly for training sessions and are ready for deployment in the event of a disaster. We primarily look after the Wellington region but can be deployed to other regions. With severe weather events becoming more frequent, we are being called to respond to events throughout the country.

Storm response training, Wellington

May 6th we met at the site of 2 neighbouring empty houses in Wilton. We practiced safely accessing a roof, which was made difficult by overhanging trees.

Using ropes and harnesses, team members ascended the ladders and climbed onto the roof.

Carefully moving around on the roof, keeping 3 points of contact at all times, we secured loose corrugated iron with ropes and placed a tarpaulin over the roof to keep the house watertight.

We used our mannequin “Manuel” as a patient and brought him safely down off the roof.

Ladders and Lowers in Wellington

April 29th we were back at the empty flats in Berhampore for some more hands-on training.

Tom and Phil instructed us on the safe use of ladders and techniques for lowering team members, stretchers and equipment.

The building is in a state or disrepair, so the scenario was fairly realistic.

To see more about our recent training exercises; follow us on Facebook.

Demolition training in Wellington

Monday April 15th, we met at a disused block of flats in Berhampore to learn the art of demolition (with the owner’s permission of course).

Demolition is a necessary skill we would need in the event of deployment to a building that we need to enter but the usual entry points are blocked.

We learnt how to safely assess the situation before cutting into walls to create an opening big enough to evacuate someone through.

We got to have a play with all our demolition equipment, and still left most of the building intact.

Joint training exercise with FENZ and NZRT7

Our team (NZRT8) met with NZRT7 from Victoria University and Wellington Operational Support at Kilbirnie fire station on Monday 8th April.

Mixed crews worked together across four areas set up on the night, in order to build awareness of each group’s capabilities. Three of the bases focused on technical skills: using ladders and cordons, setting up lighting and a casualty collection point.

The fourth base provided a place for crews to rest, socialise, and familiarise themselves with the vehicles.

We closed with a debriefing and an agreement to do another joint training exercise.

Flood management exercise in Tawa

We started the evening of 25th March 2024 at our Tawa depot, learning how to fill sandbags. We practised using both sandbags and tarpaulins for building a watertight wall. We then headed to Willow Park Reserve where we used the Porirua stream for our exercise.

Under the beam of floodlights and headlamps. We broke into 2 groups.

The first group set up a trash pump which quickly moves large volumes of water which may contain small bits of debris/trash. We also practised using a submersible pump and generator.

The 2nd group practiced safely crossing deep murky water using stakes to probe for hazards, walking in formation, arms linked for maximum safety.

To keep up to date with our latest training exercises and deployments; follow us on Facebook.

Practising patient hand-over exercise

March 4th, the team met to practice patient hand-over. Two of our team, who are Wellington Free Ambulance staff (in green and blue) were there with an ambulance to receive our ‘patients’.

Volunteers from our team were the patients for the evening.

The team practiced giving a verbal hand-over, which needs to be accurate, concise and up to date, including any treatment or medicine given. Changes in the patient’s condition observed since arrival on scene, were also given to the ambulance staff, plus a written note of vital signs (heart rate, respiration rate and pain level) which had been recorded periodically since first assessment.

We also practiced how to safely transfer the patient into the ambulance.

Life Flight open day March 2024

Sunday the 10th saw the team in Kilbirnie, Wellington, to participate in the Life Flight open day.

All the emergency services were represented. The youngsters enjoyed climbing the ladder. Safety first – Richard fastens the helmet on a keen participant.

Hauling the stretcher up on ropes was a popular activity too.

Open days like this are a great opportunity to meet the public and show them who we are and what we do. NZRT8 are being deployed more often now as global warming brings storms flooding and gale force winds more frequently.

Is this something you want to be a part of? Click the button below to apply.

‘Long Walk Home’ March 1st 2024

‘Long walk home’ is an event run by the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office. Our team participated, walking from Sky Stadium at the north end of Wellington to Porirua City (about 30km)

If a large earthquake struck during a weekday in Wellington the roads and rail may be out of use. Many people would need to do a long hike home.

What a fantastic way to build awareness and prepare for a real event and have fun along the way.

To keep up to date with our deployments, training and other activities, follow us on Facebook.

Patient evacuation Training Exercise

The team turned out at 7pm February 19th, for a training exercise at Wellington East Girls College.

The casualties (volunteers and fellow team members) were briefed and positioned strategically inside the building.

Once located, the casualties were assessed. First aid was then administered before removing them out of the building.

Using a ladder (instead of the stairs), the casualty, secured in the stretcher, was moved to another floor.

The new skid stretcher in use.

Emergency water supply training

February 12th 2024, 2 men from Wellington Water and WRC spent the evening training our team how to set up an emergency water distribution station at a Civil Defence hub or from a tank carried on a vehicle.

Outside, we accessed the fire hydrant in Davies Street, Tawa, attached the appropriate fitting and opened the valve.

We rigged up a community water station which, in the event of an emergency, would provide clean water for the public to fill their containers.

Wellington Volunteer Fire Support visit

The Volunteer Fire Support guys and girls based in Kilbirnie, Wellington, spent the evening training with us on November 6th 2023.

The aim of the evening was to discuss and familiarise each other with the equipment and expertise of both teams, to enable us to work more effectively together in an emergency situation.

We practiced the safe use of stretchers for evacuating casualties. The ‘casualties’ on this occasion were our team members.

Training exercise October 28th 2023

The team gathered at the Wellington Town Hall, which is currently undergoing substantial renovations.

After the initial briefing, the casualties (with some very realistic looking injuries) were positioned in the rubble and it was the job of the team to locate, assess and provide first aid.

The casualty’s vital signs were regularly monitored and recorded.

All casualties were safely extricated. A final debrief completed the day.

Fire in Wellington October 15th 2023

Our team were called out to assist with cordon control in Ghuznee Street Wellington on October 15th.

A fire had taken hold in a vacant multi-story building.

As the fire was located in a potentially busy pedestrian area in the central city, NZRT8 assisted Fire and Emergency NZ in keeping the public safe.

It’s great to be able to work together with other emergency services.

Training Exercise July 2023 in Porirua

We had the use of an empty building in the Porirua town centre to practice a post-earthquake scenario. Two live ‘casualties’ and several cardboard ones were positioned inside the building.

Our newest recruits, (in orange and blue) with support from our more experienced team members (in red and black), located and assessed the casualties. They administered first aid and then figured out the best method and route to extract the patients through the broken building and over the rubble.

The scenarios are set up to be as authentic as possible and the team members are expected to perform their role as if it is a real situation.

The casualty is monitored throughout the extraction, vital signs are checked frequently.

Emergency Services Expo April 2023

This was the 6th Expo show-casing the Emergency services and all their latest equipment and technology. It was a very interactive and informative day, well attended by the public.

Some of the team outside Te Papa April 2023

It was great to interact with the public and see the kids having a fun time.

Pictures below are of Westpac rescue helicopter and the Fire an Emergency NZ displays.

Westpac Life Flight rescue helicopter demonstrating winching someone from a boat in Wellington Harbour
NZ Fire Service display at the Expo

Hawkes Bay March 2023

Severe flooding hit the Hawkes Bay on February 15th 2023. Smaller communities were cut off due to roading damage and bridges being destroyed.

Bridge washed out, Hawkes Bay Feb 2023

We helicoptered 2 teams into the smaller isolated communities: distributing food and supplies and providing medical assistance and reassurance. We also relieved local volunteers who had been running the community hub where bulk supplies were being received for distribution.

Preparing to fly out to a settlement isolated by the cyclone

More photos on our Facebook page. Keep up to date with our activities.

Auckland February 2023

Cyclone Gabrielle hit the Auckland and Northland regions on February 14th. We sent a team to assist with the clean-up.

Removing sodden carpets and furniture from homes following Cyclone Gabrielle Feb 2023

We cleared out flood damaged homes, stripping out the carpets and furniture which were not salvageable.

Soggy beds and mattrasses being removed from an Auckland house

Would you like to be involved?

Training Exercise November 2022

The exercise took place in an abandoned building in Island Bay. Several ‘casualties’ were planted in the building. The aim was to locate, assess and safely extricate them.

The persistent rain did not deter the team.

The day concluded with feedback from team members and casualties.

Accreditation at Parliament 2022

On 21st September 2022 the team gathered at the Beehive (NZ Parliament Buildings) to receive our accreditation from the Minister for Emergency Management, Keiran McAnulty.

As part of the Emergency
Management System Reform in 2021, the Government committed to building a robust and sustainable,
volunteer based emergency management support network in New Zealand.

The accreditation process is to ensure a consistently high standard of competence among the volunteers. Accredited teams can be deployed to other regions in the country and work confidently and effectively with the emergency response coordinators in that region

Plimmerton Flash Flood November 2021

About 50 homes in Plimmerton, north of Wellington were flooded by a very heavy downpour on 29th November 2021.

We deployed a team to assist with clearing the sodden materials from the affected homes. We piled the items into waiting trucks.

See more photos of our activities on our Facebook page.

Life Flight Open Day March 2019

Another awesome opportunity to meet the public and showcase our work.

There were many opportunities to chat with the public about our work. While a lot of our display was static, the kids loved trying out the equipment.

We spoke to lots of people on the day, and recruited a few more volunteers for the team.

Would you like to join the team? We’re always looking for new recruits. Complete the form in the link below.

Every Team Member has a role to play

Every exercise requires the full participation of the team; laying out and checking the gear.

The communications team set up and test their equipment.

Then medical personnel check their medical equipment and supplies.

Some of the team are experts in the use of ropes and abseiling for moving team members, equipment and casualties over steep terrain and in and out of multi-story buildings.

Some of our team members have no special skills but are equally valued, essential members of the team.