A search and rescue team is set to hit a Whanganui suburban street this weekend – but there’s no cause for alarm.
LandSAR (Land Search and Rescue) Whanganui is holding a training exercise that will include searches of some residential properties in Peakes Rd.
“The group trains regularly throughout the year for all sorts of scenarios to keep everyone refreshed and upskilled,” LandSAR Whanganui training co-ordinator Elly Arnst said.
“We get called in to all sorts of searching, but primarily we do what we refer to as wilderness searching – so trampers or hunters or kids who have wandered off and got lost or injured. We work quite closely with the police.
“We haven’t done suburban-focused searching for a while so that’s why we’re going to be doing this. The first part of the day will be instructional and then we’ll go and do three scenarios. One will be residential properties, one will be a school and then something in the CBD. We’ll have one or two planted ‘missing’ people in the scenario that we’ll have to try and find.”
The searches of residential properties in Peakes Rd will include gardens, behind and under buildings, creeks, drains, trees and bush areas. There will be no searches inside houses or garages and no property will be searched without the residents’ permission.
“We’ve chosen that area because there are gullies and bush areas and gardens – and hopefully not too many dogs,” Arnst said.
“We will have a handful of properties which we select to plant some clues in. So we’ll be looking at dropped items or places where people have walked through. We’ll also be doing some door-to-door interviewing and we may not search all of the properties that we interview, depending on what information we receive.”
About 15 of the group’s 30 members will take part in this weekend’s exercise. All will be wearing hi-vis gear and will identify themselves to property owners.
The exercise base will be at Faith City Church in Springvale Rd, with the group searching properties in Peakes Rd on Saturday morning.