MEMBERS of Tasmania’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter crew will be ditching their chopper and running the Overland Track in the World Heritage Wilderness later this month to promote the charity’s ‘30K for the month of May’ campaign.
Westpac Rescue Helicopter Tasmania (WRHT), the charity fundraising arm of the state’s aero-medical rescue service, has set aside the month of May to raise $30,000 to purchase much-needed life-saving equipment and specialist training for the helicopters and crews.
To raise awareness of the campaign, eight crew members from the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service will run the 65-kilometre Overland Track on May 28.
The runners aim to complete the distance in just 14 hours.
WRHT’s Laura Minutillo said the charity was proud to launch its ‘30K for the month of May’ campaign to fund vital equipment to enhance the helicopter rescue and medical retrieval service.
“We’re also proud that the crew members are so passionate that they are undertaking this arduous run to promote and support our fundraising effort,” she said.
“Donations can be made via our website www.westpacrescuetas.com.au and donations over $2 are tax deductible.
“All the funds raised support the service in Tasmania and are used to buy equipment and provide training to ensure the helicopter aero-medical service given to Tasmanians and visitors to the state is world-class.”
Ms Minutillo said the ‘30K for the month of May’ campaign would fund essential equipment for the helicopter crew and support people rescued or evacuated to the hospital.
“In the past, WRHT’s fundraising and sponsorship have funded the purchase of night- vision goggles, cold-water immersion survival suits, winch equipment, marine life-vests, stretchers and a range of equipment, as well as specialist water evacuation training for the crews,” she said.
“The $30,000 campaign target will enable WRHT to continue to provide the equipment and enhancements vital to ensure the service remains world-class and is available to support and protect the community, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service is an integral part of Tasmania’s emergency services and is available to anyone in a dangerous situation.
“Our highly skilled crews are called out daily for a variety of assignments – from bushwalker rescue missions in Tasmania’s rugged World Heritage Areas to motor vehicle accidents or to assist in extracting people at risk in offshore waters,” Ms Minutillo said.
“We adhere to the highest possible standards for our crew, including paramedics, medical personnel, police specialist and pilots, and all undergo intensive training before joining the team and during their postings.”
Ms Minutillo said the State Government provided funding for Westpac Rescue Helicopter missions through the Department of Police and Emergency Management.
The funding was conditional on the service raising complementary funding to maintain its operations, secure first-class rescue and medical equipment and train personnel.
“We have a great sponsor in Westpac, and other commercial supporters, but further sponsorship, as well as donations and benefactions from the general public, are vital to the continued operation of our service,” Ms Minutillo said.
“Hopefully, our ‘30K for the month of May’ campaign will add to this.”