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The Volunteer Rescue Association Inc (VRA) is an Australian organisation of volunteer members, they provide rescue to the communities across New South Wales. The first rescue squads, with the assistance of NSW Police formed the Volunteer Rescue Association, groups with common charters can become an affiliate of the Association.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain "to benefit another person, group or organization". Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.
New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.
In times of need, whether it be in the emergency or recovery phase, the VRA can bring affiliated squads together to provide assistance to other services or to assist one of its own affiliates.
The first VRA specialist squad, Bushwalkers Search and Rescue (today known as Bush Search and Rescue New South Wales) was formed in 1936. The first VRA General Land Rescue Squad was formed in 1950 to assist Police with recovery of persons from the Murrumbidgee River, to provide flood rescue, evacuations and ferrying of food and medicines between isolated communities around Wagga Wagga in southern NSW. Soon after the Wagga Wagga Rescue Squad became involved in general land rescue. In 1960 the Bourke Rescue Squad was formed, followed in 1962 by the Dubbo Rescue Squad. In 1969, at the suggestion of the State Police Commissioner several volunteer rescue squads (Albury, Dubbo, Narrandera and Wagga Wagga) met and formed the Volunteer Rescue Association. VRA Rescue Squads continued to be established where a need existed and the Police, Ambulance, Fire Brigade and local community supported the establishment of a volunteer rescue squad.
Today, the Volunteer Rescue Association provides a training structure with CBT Competency Based Training under its own Registered Training Organisation VRA Training Pty Ltd (#40468), and with policies and procedures affiliated rescue squads provide a comprehensive rescue service to the community. The Volunteer Rescue Association provides a command structure when rescue squads come together, during major incidents, with standardisation of equipment, all come together as a cohesive team.
Regional squads can be either land or marine based. Land-based squads can be involved with motor vehicle accident rescue, vertical rescue, river rescue and dive rescue. Marine-based squads can be involved with coastal emergencies on the north and south coast. In addition, there are specialist squads with particular skills who do not operate in any particular region. Examples of these include squads with bushwalking, cave rescue, radio (communications), Australian Civil Air Patrol (aircraft), and dog expertise.
The current President of the Volunteer Rescue Association is Mark Gibson.
The Volunteer Rescue Association is involved on a day-to-day basis in general rescue operations primarily, road accident rescue, land and maritime search and rescue operations. This extensive experience is invaluable in times of major operations. The Volunteer Rescue Association (as the VRA) has responded to the following major incidents:
The Thredbo landslide was a catastrophic landslide that occurred at the village and ski resort of Thredbo, New South Wales, Australia, on 30 July 1997. Two ski lodges were destroyed and a total of 18 died.
The 1999 Sydney hailstorm was the costliest natural disaster in Australian insurance history, causing extensive damage along the east coast of New South Wales. The storm developed south of Sydney on the afternoon of Wednesday, 14 April 1999 and struck the city's eastern suburbs, including the central business district, later that evening.
While assisting at these major operations, VRA units continued to meet their primary responsibility of providing rescue services to their communities.
As with many volunteer organisations, an increasing number of VRA squads face difficulties recruiting sufficient personnel in order to respond effectively to incidents. This has led to a gradual decline in the number of accredited squads from 47 in 2007down to 32 by 2013, with responsibility moving to other organisations such as Fire and Rescue NSW and the State Emergency Service.
Fire and Rescue NSW, an agency of the Government of New South Wales, Australia, is responsible for firefighting, rescue and hazmat services in the major cities, metropolitan areas and towns across rural and regional New South Wales. Fire and Rescue NSW is the seventh largest urban fire service in the world, with over 6,800 firefighters serving at 335 fire stations throughout the state, supported by 465 administrative and trades staff and 5,700 community fire unit volunteers. FRNSW are also the busiest fire service in Australia, attending over 124,000 incidents a year and undertaking 52,000 community activities in 2017/18.
The State Emergency Service (SES) is the name used by a number of volunteer organisations in Australia that provide assistance during and after major incidents, such as floods, storms, cyclones, and bushfires. The SES also assist in other emergencies, such as vertical and road crash rescues, missing persons searches, and medical evacuations. In other scenarios the SES may provide a support role to other agencies, particularly police and fire. The SES is operational 24 hours a day. The SES is constituted as separate organisations operating in the various Australian states and territories. Eight of the SES organisations co-ordinate through the Australian Council of State and Territory Emergency Services (ACSES).
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In the United States, community emergency response team (CERT) can refer to
Search and rescue (SAR) is the search for and provision of aid to people who are in distress or imminent danger. The general field of search and rescue includes many specialty sub-fields, typically determined by the type of terrain the search is conducted over. These include mountain rescue; ground search and rescue, including the use of search and rescue dogs; urban search and rescue in cities; combat search and rescue on the battlefield and air-sea rescue over water.
A volunteer fire department (VFD) is a fire department composed of volunteers who perform fire suppression and other related emergency services for a local jurisdiction.
For the more current term, see Emergency medical responder
Responsibilities for traditional coast guard duties in Australia are distributed across various federal, state and community agencies. The de facto coast guard of Australia is the Maritime Border Command, a joint command of the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Border Force which works alongside the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. Each state and territory government have specific maritime safety agencies and police marine units. In addition, there are several private volunteer coast guard organisations which act as auxiliary search and rescue services and maritime safety educators with the largest organisations being the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol established in 1937, the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard established in 1961, and Marine Rescue New South Wales established in 2009.
The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary is a Canada-wide volunteer marine association dedicated to marine search and rescue (SAR) and the promotion of boating safety, through association with the Canadian Coast Guard under the auspices of Canada's National Search and Rescue Program.
The State Protection Group (SPG) is part of the Specialist Operations division of the New South Wales Police Force, having been established in 1991 to deal with extraordinary policing responses. The SPG directly supports police in high-risk incidents such as sieges with specialised tactical, negotiation, intelligence and command-support services. The unit also provides rescue and bomb disposal support, canine policing, and armoury services.
New South Wales Ambulance, an agency of the Ministry of Health of the New South Wales Government, is the statutory provider of pre-hospital emergency care and ambulance services in the state of New South Wales, Australia.
The Disaster Preparedness and Response Team is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) established in Pakistan in November 2005 following the Pakistan Quake. However it was not registered as a voluntary agency until 2006. It is composed of civilian volunteers who give some of their time to train and in major emergencies act as volunteer disaster workers.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is a helicopter surf lifesaving service that operates in Australia.
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications (AREC), formerly the Amateur Radio Emergency Corps, is a service provided by the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters (NZART) which provides trained radio communicators and communication systems for emergency situations.
The New South Wales State Emergency Service, an agency of the Government of New South Wales, is an emergency and rescue service dedicated to assisting the community in times of natural and man-made disasters. The NSW SES is made up almost entirely of volunteer members, numbering over 9,000 as of June 2018. Members are easily identified by their distinctive orange overalls.
Bush Search and Rescue Victoria (BSAR) is a volunteer search and rescue group active in the state of Victoria (Australia) and is affiliated with Bushwalking Victoria. Bush Search and Rescue participates in land-based search and rescue activities for persons lost in the bush, in conjunction with and under direction from the Victoria Police Search and Rescue Squad.
Emergency medical responders are people who are specially trained to provide out-of-hospital care in medical emergencies. There are many different types of emergency medical responders, each with different levels of training, ranging from first aid and basic life support. Emergency medical responders have a very limited scope of practice and have the least amount of comprehensive education, clinical experience or clinical skills of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. The EMR program is not intended to replace the roles of emergency medical technicians or paramedics and their wide range of specialties. Emergency medical responders typically assist in rural regions providing basic life support where pre-hospital health professionals are not available due to limited resources or infrastructure.
NSW SES Bush Search and Rescue (previously known as Bush Search and Rescue NSW, Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad and Bushwalkers Search and Rescue is a remote and rugged area land search and rescue service in New South Wales, Australia established on 27 November 1936. BSAR NSW is a wholly volunteer operated, self funded incorporated association and a specialist squad of the Volunteer Rescue Association.
The Australian Aerial Patrol was formed in 1957 following a meeting convened by the City of Greater Wollongong Council. The Patrol's charter, to maintain the safety and the welfare of the community through aerial observation and support, was paramount throughout the organisation and forms to this day the basis for which all operations and activities are conducted and provided.
The Search and Rescue Squad is the Search and Rescue group of the Victoria Police that provides specialist expertise, advice and practical assistance in land search and rescue. This expertise covers most terrains including snow and vertical cliff search and rescue.
The Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad was established in 1950 as an all-volunteer EMS agency providing free service to a community of approximately 55,000 residents, including approximately half of Montgomery County, Virginia, and the Town of Blacksburg, which is home to Virginia Tech. The squad has approximately 120 members, including full-time community residents with other jobs and high school and college students.