Knees-up for 111 saviours


Queenstown lifesavers will let their hair down this weekend after a hectic winter.

Police, firefighters, search and rescue crew, St John Ambulance officers and hospital staff will gather in the Memorial Hall on Saturday night for the Queenstown Emergency Services Ball.

The figures show they’ve earned a bit of relaxation.

In the four months from June, St John attended almost half the amount of callouts it would normally expect to do in a year, acting team manager Alana Reid says.

Staff treated 1047 patients between June 1-September 3 – compared with 890 for the same period last year.

“The numbers have been up but I think it’s a reflection of good snow and good numbers up the mountain,” Reid says. “I don’t think the actual accident rate is up.”

Queenstown Volunteer Fire Brigade had 323 call-outs from July 2008-June 2009 – on par with the previous 12 months, secretary Katherine Lamont says.

Wakatipu Land Search and Rescue’s Ed Halson says the organisation’s Alpine Cliff Rescue team has been “a bit busier than previous years” with some major callouts.

Ball co-organiser and ambulance officer Kirsty Mann says the last Emergency Services Ball was held in 2004.

“Since we frequently only meet each other when involved on calls, it’s a great opportunity to acknowledge the work people have done over what’s been a pretty busy winter season,” she says.

Tickets at $65 per person are still available. Doors open at 7pm.