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Winston Churchill Fellowship SPCA UK

In September 2017, with the combined help of Travel Prefab and the NZ Winston Churchill Fellowship, Senior SPCA Animal Welfare Inspector Ben Lakomy undertook a trip to the SPCAs of UK and Ireland.

The Fellowship was designed to take an in-depth look at SPCA Animal Welfare inspectorate best practices and experiences in the UK and Ireland, with the goal of bringing back ideas and plans to share with all NZ Animal Welfare Inspectorates. Across all industries, international relationships are helping organisations to be the best they can be, and the sharing of new skills and procedures helps both parties be more effective in their work. It is important that the SPCA also build these international relationships, to benefit and take part in the sharing of knowledge and skills.

Ben’s visit was hugely successful. He spent time with the UK RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit, looking into deliberate, brutal, large-scale organized and commercial animal cruelty. He also spent time with local Inspector’s as they went about their daily routine. In Ireland, Ben was able to observe how the Inspectorate operates, this was particularly interesting as their Inspectorate is similar in size and powers to the one in Wellington.

Ben returned home with confirmation that best practices in NZ match or exceed those overseas, but also with new ideas and concepts that could be adopted by NZ Inspectorates. In particular, learnings around complex surveillance and evidence gathering, will be utilized to the benefit of NZ animals.

Travel Prefab generously sponsored Ben’s flights, making the trip possible.

Inland Rescue Swimmer Programme

In February 2017 Travel Prefab were proud to work with Rescue 3 New Zealand in bringing Lynn Burttschell, the creator of Rescue 3’s Rescue Swimmer program to Vector Wero Whitewater Park, Auckland to present and teach the Rescue 3 International Inland Rescue Swimmer programme for the first time in the southern hemisphere.   This course was attended by various New Zealand based rescuers from around the country so they could upskill in keeping New Zealand lives safer in our waters.

Lynn Burttschell is an instructor trainer for Wimberley Rescue. Lynn is a criminal justice graduate from Sam Houston State University, where he also began his career in emergency medicine. Lynn currently works for the Travis County STAR Flight program as a Paramedic/Rescue Swimmer/Crew Chief. Lynn is also a Helicopter Manager/Rescue Swimmer for the state’s Urban Search and Rescue team, Texas Task Force 1. This is a combined effort between the state and the Texas Army National Guard. Lynn has been a strong influence in the development of the state’s Helicopter Rescue Swimmer program and continues to improve the training efforts for many of the nation’s responders such as North Carolina’s HART, South Carolina’s HART, Texas DPS and Rescue 3 International.

If this guy couldn’t sound any more qualified, he is also a two time recipient of the Higgins and Langley Memorial Award for his efforts as a boat squad leader during Tropical Storm Allison and as a helicopter crew chief during Tropical Storm Hermine. Lynn also received the Sikorsky Rescue Award as a rescue swimmer during Hurricane Katrina. He has also been deployed to other national disasters such as Hurricane Ike and other flood events. Phew!

Travel Prefab proudly sponsored Lynn’s flights but we would also like to say a big thank you to Lynn for volunteering his time to make this great experience possible.

Confined Space Training

In November 2016, SPCA Inspector Gina Kemp set off to Australia to study confined space entry with Queensland Fire & Emergency Services at their specialist training complex at White Island, Brisbane.

As part of her role at Wellington SPCA, she is the Officer in Charge of Technical Rescue and the National Rescue Unit that can be deployed to complex animal rescues involving flooding events through to injured animals that have crawled under houses.

50% of technical rescues carried out by the National Rescue Unit in the last year have been to confined space environments which have numerous hazards from irrespirable atmospheres to electrocution. The NRU has specialist equipment such as gas detection kits and AC current (electrical hazards) detection wands as well as tripods, specialist ropes, intrinsically safe radios and retrieval systems.

With flights sponsored by Travel Prefab and family and friends hosting Gina, this critical safety training has been made available to ensure we are following best practice and we keep our staff and volunteers safe. Gina is also developing health and safety guides for the SPCA National Office on a range of initial responses including confined space, water, large animal and at height incidents.

While in Queensland, Gina also spent a couple of days with the RSPCA NSW Inspectorate Team as part of trans-Tasman networking and collaboration, given both sides have much to share and offer each other to benefit better services to the animals we serve.

We are truly thankful for the support of small businesses like Travel Prefab for the continued sponsorship.