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New Zealand pays tribute to Australian rescue personnel

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05 Jun 2013
Five MFB firefighters received citations yesterday for their response to the Christchurch earthquake in 2011.

Commander George Arnold, Station Officers Anita Carlin, Matthew Burr and Greg Plier, and Leading Firefighter Wayne Hammond were part of an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) contingent deployed to New Zealand following the disaster.

During yesterday’s ceremony held in Sydney, special citations from the New Zealand Government were presented to 135 Australian emergency services and specialist personnel who responded to assist after the disaster.

Those recognised included firefighters, paramedics, doctors, police officers and engineers.

Above: The citations feature red and black stripes to reflect the colours of the Canterbury region.

New Zealand High Commissioner Martyn Dunne and New Zealand Fire Service Chief Executive and National Commander Paul Baxter attended the ceremony.

FRNSW led 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.

NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher said the scale of the emergency was incredible and praised all of the emergency services personnel who responded to Christchurch.

“Over 23 days, task forces from Australia and around the world worked for hours on end searching for people in the rubble, carrying out repairs to homes and business, as well as assisting the elderly,” he said.

“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 disaster coordination,” he said.

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