RESCUE work is a calling only a dedicated few can answer.
For Rescuetech’s caring long-term volunteer, Nicholas Holmes, it was his unbridled passion for helping those in need that drove him to his first training session nine years ago.
Electrical engineer by day, the 35-year-old easily slips into his Rescuetech getup to take on the mantle of operations commander for the Rescuetech team.
“We are a support service, a technical search and rescue organisation that supports other emergency services. We do specialist rescue work with ropes, heights, water, confided spaces and collapsed structures – all for free,” said a proud Nicholas.
What Nicholas didn’t realise all those years ago was that when he took up rock climbing as a side sport, his life would be completely changed.
“Being involved, it kind of just happened. I heard about it one evening at rock climbing and the next minute I was involved at a training session,” he said. He has never looked back.
“It is being able to help people, whether it’s physically helping someone or helping retrieve someone’s dog stuck in a drain, it is ultimately doing something for someone they are unable to do.”
It was pitch dark outside when Nic received a call notifying him of what would later be his most stressful rescue. A firefighter had fallen off a cliff in Winston Park while battling a wall of flame encroaching on a group of simplexes.
“This was a good few years ago, but it was a high stress situation. It was a seven hour rescue in a raging bush fire trying to get him out. It was strenuous and hot and most of the time, completely dark. We were worried the equipment would catch alight and burn mid rescue. We eventually airlifted him much later on,” said Nic.
In his nine years, Nic admitted to seeing a lot of small injuries to cliff-face animal rescues to haunting suicide scenes.
“Emotionally, we have to detach ourselves from what is happening, unless you are the one helping tend to the patient. Even then, you don’t have time to really take everything in. There is a race against time during a rescue,” he said.
“We take it seriously, but we remove the emotional seriousness from the fact to keep yourself going.”
There are currently 11 volunteers under the Rescuetech banner and each individual funds their own rescues.
“Every time there is a call-out, we fund it ourselves, from the petrol, wear and tear on our vehicles and equipment,” he said.
The public benefit organisation doesn’t have much of a fund pool and, excluding the purchase of equipment or funding rescues, it costs R15 000 per year to run.
“There is equipment we need to update and replace as the stuff has a lifespan. All the funds we raise go into bettering the service we offer and allows us to keep it as a free-to-use public service,” said Nic.
Book your tickets:
JOIN Rescuetech for a fun night out on Saturday, 10 November as The Gee Jays present Bad Moon Rising at Forest View Primary School from 6pm.
The fund-raiser show is abarnyard style vent, so bring along your own drinks and snacks.
Platters will be available to order when you book. Non-alcoholic beverages will be sold at the venue.
Tickets are R120 per person. To book, contact 072 209 1170 or082 547 3552 or e-mail [email protected]
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