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61 Standardising public rescue equipment for bystanders and emergency personnel in New Zealand
  1. Teresa Stanley1,
  2. Mick Kearney2
  1. 1Drowning Prevention Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand


Context Public rescue equipment (PRE) is installed in aquatic environments enabling bystanders to assist people in trouble in the water. However, rescuing others can be extremely dangerous, especially for untrained bystanders and emergency service personnel (Pearn & Franklin, 2012). In the past ten years (2012–2021) 27 people in New Zealand have drowned rescuing others (WSNZ, 2022). This collaborative project is funded by NZSAR, led by Surf Life Saving NZ with research assistance from Drowning Prevention Auckland. While aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 11, the presentation covers all conference themes of ‘reconnecting, reinvigorating, and reimagining injury prevention’.

Introduction of PRE around New Zealand has been occurring on an ad hoc basis, often resulting from a drowning, but with little evidence of best type of PRE and suitability for bystander rescue. The project aims to produce a national guide to help coastal managers make better-informed decisions about their PRE requirements.

Process To achieve implementation of the eventual guidelines, the project team obtained formal support, funding, and concrete methods of engagement within both the aquatic and emergency management sectors. International PRE and evaluations have been sourced and tested for ease and accuracy of use. Twenty-two locations were identified to trial PRE over the 2021–2022 New Zealand summer to monitor use of PRE.

Outcomes An in-depth research programme investigating types and use of PRE will be presented. Knowledge gained has determined the best suited PRE type and method for the various New Zealand aquatic environments. National PRE guidelines have been drafted.

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